Wednesday, December 02, 2009

What I'm Thankful For:
Lori, My Brilliant Wife

I know this is a little late, but we've been through a lot over the past few years and, late or not, I wanted to finally say what I've always meant to say. Besides, Thanksgiving gets the short end of the stick every year anyway. Nowadays, we seem to, as a culture, go immediately from trick-or-treating to stuffing stockings. Thanksgiving is important. It should not be forgotten.

So I'm going to take just a moment to give thanks for Lori. As a writer, the best way I know how to do this is with words.

I used the term "brilliant" in the headline and that was not by accident. The word "brilliant" has many different meanings. And they all apply to Lori. Shall we explore them?

1 (of light) very bright and radiant.
(of a color) brightly and intensely vivid.

Lori is definately bright. She's whip-smart and not much gets past her. She was a first-grade teacher for seven years and a substitute teacher before (and after) that. Now she's Melody's teacher at home and boy does she have her work cut out for her. Melody herself is a brilliant little handful!

Lori is also radiant. Her smile is like a sunrise and her eyes gleam, especially when she's locked onto something that she wants. Her strong and vivid personality, often hidden to others because she's somewhat shy, is a primary reason we have acheived, as a family, as much as we have in the six short years since we've been married. I think vivid could also be used to describe the scope of Lori's emotions. She feels things strongly... passionately. When she's happy, she's joyful. When she's sorrowful, she's in, to quote Anne Shirley, "the depths of despair." She possesses an artistic temperment which leads me to the next definition for "brilliant."

2 (of light) outstanding; impressive.

Lori impressed me the first time we met. She's smart, savvy and classy. Just being seen next to her bumps me up the social ladder by at least two rungs (she'd probably say three). She's smarter than the average girl, which might intimidate some guys. She's also taller than the average girl, especially in heels or boots. I never wanted to date someone who could kick my butt. And while I don't think Lori really could, I don't think I'd ever want to give her a run for her money. She's like Wonder Woman and she's got the sexy legs to prove it.

As a song writer, Lori continues to impress me. While I'm sort of the de facto wordsmith of the family, providing my fair share of lyrics to our songs, Lori's lyrics are real and touch preciesely where they need to. Sometimes she (wisely) asks for my help with the lyrics. Another place she impresses. Guys never ask for help. But Lori truly collaborates with me. Of course, her knowledge of music far surpasses mine. Anything I write in the realm of musical notes will be rudimentary. While I can put down broad-stroke musical phrases, Lori's chords are what shade the music. Every time I think I know where she's going to go, she surprises me and pulls something else out of her magic bag of tricks.

Brit., informal. very good, excellent or marvelous

But it's her vocal performances that are truly marvelous. Lori, a fan of everything from rap to classic rock to brit pop to black gospel can belt it out like the best of them. She has a great range and a strong and solid delivery. Her passion shines through when she's really giving it her all. And, when she's had a good night's sleep, I'd put her pipes up there with Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey or Christina Aguleria. I'm not joking when I say she's our band's lead singer. For anyone else in the group, myself included, to claim that title would be ridiculous.

Perhaps most impressive and marvelous of all is that Lori agreed to be my wife. She consented to go on this journey called life with me. We didn't always know where it would take us or what we'd go through. But we're doing it together. She's the sounding board for all my novels and short stories. Nonfiction too. She's the believer in my dreams and the dreamer of many herself. And, even though I don't always agree, I've learned to always listen to her. She has unparallelled insight. She sees the glass as half-full when I'm often tempted to turn the thing over and dump out the paltry contents.

She puts brightness and sparkle into each of my days.

If that doesn't describe brilliance, then I don't know what does.

Thank you, God, for my brilliant wife.

And thank you, Lori, for sticking with me.

TV Mid-Season Round-UP

Naturally, there's more going on in our lives than what I watch on TV. We've finally wrapped up our financial situation with our house and we're for the most part very please with the results and we're currently all decorated for Christmas. Melody is doing very well in school. She just needs to be a little less chatty. My writing and publishing venture is beginning to bloom. And the band/worship work Lori and I have been working on since stepping down from The Connection is finally coming to fruition.

But this post is about my favorite TV shows and where we're at with them. Most of them have come to some sort of mid-season finale. And some won't start at all until January. So I'm gonna start with Mondays and go from there.



I'm sorta tired of justifying my continued devotion to this show. I will agree that it hasn't ever been as good as it was the first season. But it hasn't been as bad as a lot of fanboys have made it out to be. It's still pretty cool and the Thanksgiving episode was perhaps the best of the season. The last episode, in which a key character finally bites the dust, was also good I thought and I'm interested to see where they're going to take it from here. So count me in for the season. Whether it goes out with a bang or gets another chance to re-capture season one's glory has yet to be determined. I say, if they can't step the game up to season one levels, perhaps it's better to go out altogether. Heroes returns January 4 with a two-hour episode. The following week, it will move to its new time at 9 pm (following new episodes of Chuck).


As a writer, it's easy to like Castle. It's about a writer (Richard Castle, played by Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame) in the vein of Stephen King and he teams up with a pretty detective to solve crimes and get inspiration for his crime novels. Naturally, snarky quips and romantic-tinted banter abound. It's fun and it's a show that Lori will watch with me and actually enjoy. There's a new episode next week so I don't know if it will slow down through the holidays or not. Mondays at 10 pm on ABC.

Still To Come: Chuck

Chuck is the guy who could have been so much more except he got kicked out of Stanford and wound up heading up the Nerd Herd at the local Buy More (read: Geek Squad at Best Buy). It would have been a bleak existance had an ex-college buddy who was secretly a spy not sent Chuck the Intersec, a high-tech computer that holds all the country's secrets. With a mere click of a mouse, Chuck opened the e-mail containing the Interesec (that's some serious file compression to send something like that via an e-mail attachment) and the next thing Chuck knows is that he's downloaded the whole thing into his head. To protect him while he's harboring this supercomputer, Chuck's been assigned the kick-butt Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Sarah, a female spy who poses as his girlfriend. Sparks fly between Chuck and Sarah but they can't be together while he's got the Intersec in his brain. At the end of last season, Chuck finally got said computer out of his head only to end up downloading the new version of it into his head. Now, in addition to knowing all of the country's secrets, Chuck also has new physical abilities, Matrix-style. Clips for the new season look promising. They're upping the ante by bringing Chuck more into the spy world, it appears. While Chuck has always been fun, it'll be nice to turn the formula on its ear a little. Chuck's third season starts on Sunday, January 10 with two episodes and then moves to it's usual Monday timeslot on January 11 at 8 pm.



Yes, it's the re-imagining of that cheesetackular mini-series from the 80s that I loved so much as a youth. So far, it's fairly good. I'll admit to not having watched the latest episode yet. They only showed four episodes before the holidays. Supposedly, it's going to come back early next year, although ABC has yet to set a return date.

Still To Come: Lost

Do I really have to explain Lost? I'm not even sure if I could. This is the final season, so everything is supposed to wrap up. Last year, Juliet exploded an atomic bomb in the 70s, supposedly blowing up our heroes and potentially re-setting the timeline. A lot of returning characters who are supposed to be dead are set to make appearances this year so if you've followed the adventures of survivors of Oceanic 815 and The Island this far, there's really no reason not to complete your journey. Lost is set to return on ABC on February 2.


Still To Come: Psych

I can't say how much I love this comedic fake-psychic murder-mystery series. It's peppered with quips, snark and 80s pop culture references. The characters are well-drawn and hilarious. As long as they can keep it funny and fun, I'll keep watching. Psych starts back up on it's new night (Wednesdays) on January 27 on USA.

Still To Come: Human Target

Haven't seen this yet. It's based on a comic book that I haven't read but the premise seems like fun. A guy saves people by becoming them. I'm gonna give it a shot, despite the fact that it's on FOX (see Dollhouse below). The first episode of Human Target will air at 8 pm on Sunday, January 17 on FOX before it moves to its usual timeslot, Wednesdays at 8 pm starting January 20.



Billed as the New Lost by ABC prior to its debut, FlashForward had a lot of things going for it including Ralph Fiennes (Shakespeare In Love). But even that couldn't keep my wife's attention. And apparently the masses agree. It's been sinking in the ratings for weeks now. I'm still watching it. There are momemnts of promise. But part of the problem I think is that the biggest event that will ever happen on this show happened in the pilot (everyone on the planet blacked out for 3 minutes, 17 seconds and caught a glimpse of their future). It's hard to have twisty surprises when the biggest thing that could happen already happened and we're basically just watching everyone's reaction to it. Sure, the same arguement could be made of Lost, but what our friends found on The Island was so unexpected and bizarre that the writers were able to continually provide surprises. So far, the biggest surprise was that the future isn't necessarily written in stone. Or maybe it is. Or something.


From J.J Abrams, architect of the once-great (and always good) Alias and re-imaginer of the always watchable Star Trek, comes a worthy heir to X-Files. This year is more of the same from last year. Except now we know we're dealing with an alternate universe, which, outside of Sliders, is a rare subject matter for TV, even genre TV. The writing is always solid and watching John Noble's Vincent Price-esque performances are always worth the 60 minutes to watch.


From the outset, I liked this show because it didn't shy away from the fact that there are supernatural elements to our world. The two brothers drove their souped up Impala cross-country every week to fight ghosts and goblins and save the innocent while searching for their dad. Then they moved on to some other obscure stuff. They found their dad and then he was killed off. Around that time, they started dispatching demons. Then angels started showing up. And now the angels have ushered in the apocolyspe, Lucifer is on the loose and one angel, Castiel, is hoping to bring God onboard. While the show definately plays fast and loose with Biblical mythology, it hasn't been disappointing in the storytelling department. I highly recommend it, but only for those probalby over about 16 years of age. The Apcolypse picks back up when Supernatural returns on January 14 to the CW.



Adrian Monk has had a good run. But now we're down to the finale. Supposedly he'll solve his wife's murder. Finally. Check it out this Friday. 9 pm. USA. Note: The first part of the finale encores at 8 pm.


Against all odds, this show (from Joss Whedon of Buffy, Angel and Firefly fame) about people who have their minds wiped and imprinted with whatever rich clients want received a second season. Unfortunately, ratings were still dismal and FOX has cancelled it. Fortunately, they're going to air the remaining episodes. This Friday, they're airing two back-to-back. Then the schedule goes sorta haywire but they're promising to air them all.


No. Clark Kent isn't Superman yet. But he's something they call The Blur (I guess cause he's so fast no one can see him... last year he was The Red-Blue Blur because he always wears red and blue clothes. Get it? Like Superman?). But now clones of Kryptonians have been released on earth, including Zod (the cloning was done when he was a major though) and Clark's going to have to take him down before the season ends. Oh yeah. And Clark's finally over Lana (now that she's off the show) and is finally romancing Lois Lane. Smallville's actually been pretty good in this, its ninth year. Can you believe it? Nine years! And they're shooting for a tenth! Whatever the case, The Blur will return with new episodes of Smallville starting January 22.


I'm still taping this show every week and I still have not seen one episode of it. Maybe over the holiday hiatuses, I'll be able to check it out.

Still To Come: Caprica

This Battlestar Galactica (the reboot) prequel series stars Eric Stolz and Esai Morales. Sounds like a good mix to me.


Star Wars: The Clone Wars

These half-hour shockingly good glimpses into the Prequel-Era Star Wars universe actually debut on The Cartoon Network on Friday nights but I have too much to watch on Fridays. So I tape the encores on Saturday morning at roughly 8:30 am (sometimes it switches to 9 am for some reason). I told Lori once that if I was twelve I would really love this show. As it is, I really like it alot.


The Legend Of The Seeker

Fantasy on TV done right. I don't know how close it hews to the original Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind, but if this kind of stuff would have come out when I was a teenager, I would have never missed a minute. Hey, I don't miss any minutes now either. Hmmm... The show is syndicated so it's time and day will probably vary from region to region. In my area, it's on at 4 pm on Sundays on the CW.

So there you have it. Plenty to catch up on. Plenty to enjoy for the future. And I didn't even touch on Eureka or Burn Notice.