Free Barcelona Travel Guide – Day 2: More Walking

Thanks for clicking on the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. There are 10 chapters total, listed at the end of this post. Check out the introduction for more information.

This day started fortuitously enough as I burned out our sound machine/alarm clock. You wouldn’t think this was a big deal, but none of the hotels we stayed at had clocks in the room. 2 of them had bidets, though, which is an important lesson on priorities. After wandering around for a minute looking for a place to eat breakfast, we ended up at Taller de Tapas in The Born around Santa Maria del Mar which ended up being my favorite area of Barcelona. I ordered what seems to be Barcelona’s civic meal, un bocadillo de jamon y queso and JR had a croissant.

Next stop, the Picasso Museum. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, we were let in and started walking through the different rooms representing different eras of Picasso’s painting. It was fascinating to see so much work by a single artist, but the museum was somewhat of a failure on an informational level. The descriptions on the walls of the first couple rooms were helpful and pointed out the important paintings in each room. As we moved forward, however, the descriptions became confused, describing paintings not being exhibited, or worse yet, paintings in rooms we had just seen. It was neat to see Picasso’s work in other mediums such as printing and ceramics, and the illustrative representation of his playful relationship with his friend and secretary, Sabartes (doodle portraits on pinup posters and a portrait of Sabartes in a ruff!). The real treat of this museum, though was the special exhibit, Forgetting Velazquez. Las Meninas. “Las Meninas has been one of the most widely analyzed works in Western Painting” and the exhibit was a series of artists showing their interpretation of the painting in their own style culminating in Picasso’s own multi-month 40-odd study of Las Meninas. The special exhibit made the museum worth it for me, though JR disagrees and suggests the whole thing.

After the museum, we did some more walking and wandering and ended up on the edge of Parc de la Ciutadella at an Argentinian place called El Foro. El Foro was notable for the presentation of its Gazpacho (a bowl of tomato soup and a long plate with chopped onions and 3 different types of peppers) and the salsa which, from what I could tell, was olive oil, oregano, pepper, and bay leaf mixed into deliciousness. Parc Ciutadella is a large park on the outskirts of the old city of Barcelona. There is green space mixed in with trees, ponds and giant sculptures. The zoo is on the grounds of the park, but we didn’t visit. One exit of the Parc feeds out to the Arc de Triomf at the end of a long promenade. This is, apparently where the children go to light firecrackers with their grandmothers and the novice rollerbladers timidly hone their craft. One fellow was practicing jumping and turning around in mid air, almost falling every single time, I couldn’t look away.

After almost going into the chocolate museum (an almost I wish we had repeated a week later), we walked back to the Cathedral area going into about 5 different chocolate stores. This is my kind of city. Before going into our hotel, we went to Chocolateria Valor and got chocolate drinks. I had a Chocolate Francesa, which was about the best thing I’ve ever had. Drinking chocolate is big time in Barcelona, but what do you do in the summer? Cold chocolate!!! Wow it was great. Want more. Now.

Our friends Abbie and David picked us up for dinner and we headed to Euskal Etxea for dinner. Euskal Etxea serves Pintxo, which seems like Basque Tapas to me. The main difference being most of the Tapas are laid out on the bar, served on a slice of baguette with a toothpick. The toothpicks are important because at the end, they’re counted up and you pay per toothpick. This was great too! I missed the steak looking Pintxo, but I’m pretty sure I had quail eggs with mayo on some sort of ham. I ate more than I should have and it was still one of the cheaper dinners we had in Barcelona. Good times.

There are 10 chapters in the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. I hope you find them useful.
Introduction
Day 1: Barcelona to Boston: Plaça de Catalunya
Day 2: More Walking: Santa Maria del Mar, Picasso Museum, Ciutadella, Euskal Etxea
Day 3: Gaudi and Eating: Casa Milà
Day 4: More Gaudi: Parc Guell, Sagrada Família
Day 5: Sitges and Birthdays: Barcelona Cathedral, Parrots Hotel, The Beach House
Day 6: Sitges and Beach
Day 7: Sitges and Montserrat: Montserrat
Day 8: Sitges
Day 9: Too Hot to Shop: Aparthotel Calabria, La Boqueria, Tapaç 24
Day 10: Montjuic: Montjuic

Map of where we went or wished we had.

Free Barcelona Travel Guide – Day 2: More Walking

Boston Ballet : The Nutcracker

I hadn’t seen the Nutcracker in about 20 years (which is a weird thing to be able to say), but I don’t remember it pandering to children as much then as it did now. Also, the Nutcracker had a giant man’s mask, not a nutcracker mask, and the bandage around his neck was mysteriously missing. Some of the dances had too much to take in going on all over the stage – made me feel ADD.

Boston Ballet : The Nutcracker

ALCS Game 5

Top 1:
Ugh. Nice start, Pedroia.

Yoooooooooooooooooooooouk! Momentum? Is this it?

Guess not. Thanks, Papi.

“Keys to the game for the Red Sox: it’s win or see you in Fort Myers. That’s their spring training facility.” Don’t explain your “jokes,” McCarver.

McCarver’s unhappy that no one’s going to throw at Manny for admiring his homer. I kinda want to see him throw his hands in the air on second base right now, as he’s just tied Pete Rose’s LCS hitting streak. Anyone want to mention that? Tim? Joe? No? Ok, that’s cool.

Oh. My. God. I kind of want to die now. Was Manny running slow? Or was that just a good throw? Not an auspicious start. Somehow it doesn’t feel like we’re up 1-0.

Bottom 1:
Casey Blake is considerably more entertaining reading the lineup than Kielty was. Nicknames! G-Size! Scroobs! T-Pronk!

This double by G-Size does not bode well. Three guys run for the ball, no one catches it, and one of them kicks it into foul territory. Oh, good, and a base hit for Scroobs.

Double-play! But the game is tied. Seems like a good trade at this point, especially if Beckett’s going to give up another hit. Oh, look at that.

Strikes out Garko to end the inning. Nice! Now, if only Fox would stop playing the theme to the damn Drew Carey show.

I have some questions about the Taco Bell Nachos Bel Grande commercial. Presumably the younger brother was visiting the older brother at the latter’s home; doesn’t it seem unlikely that little brother wouldn’t have ever met his brother’s girlfriend? And if he had never met the girlfriend, mightn’t she take some notice of the newcomer when she brought the dog in? I’m having trouble with the whole scene. Kinda want nachos now, though.

Top 2:
OK, Bobby Kielty. Your job here is to be better than J. D. Drew. Can you do it? No. You can’t. (In fairness, the ball looked inside to me, too.)

This would be a good time for Coco to come up big. Come up big, Coco!

God damn you, Coco. Aaaaand a pop-up from Lugo. 6-9 are really just not showing up for this series, are they.

Oh! Hi, Dane Cook! I tell ya, I can’t wait for the second October this year—oh. Just the one?

Bottom 2:
I’m amused that Joe Buck described Gutierrez’s flailing hack at a 3-1 pitch well out of the strike zone as, “Chased it a bit.”

Top 3:
Rachel’s calling a lead-off double for Pedroia. I like that kind of optimism. According to Ken Rosenthal, Pedroia has defiantly claimed that he’s “swinging the bat good.” It’s “well,” Dustin. You’ve been swinging the bat “well.” Which you haven’t.

You know what, I apologize, Dustin. Nice single. Of course, Youkilis hits into a double play. I think the Fox producers lost track of how many outs there were, and started playing the “end of inning” music. Ha.

Big Papi walks, and here comes Manny. What the hell happened on that one? Ortiz scored, but did that ball go out? McCarver is in disbelief, and confused about physics—but no, that ball was gone. This call by the umpires is bullshit. I don’t understand why McCarver and Bank are focusing on the carom. The ball was over the yellow line. In fairness, McCarver is right that Manny needs to run out of the box on hits like this. Shameful base-running in an elimination game.

Lowell strikes out, and that’s all we get.

Bottom 3:
OK, we’re back. It’s possible that I was wrong about Manny’s ball being out of the ballpark.

Strikeout, and a nice play by Pedroia for an exciting 4-3. Beckett’s fifth K, and Boston’s still up 2-1.

Top 4:
Two on with nobody out! True, Coco and Lugo are not the two guys we want coming up right now, but I still don’t like Coco bunting here. Why give up the out? Also, he seems to suck at it. If Tito doesn’t replace Coco with Ellsbury before the end of this game, I’ll whine about it. Right here. On this very blog. Just you wait.

Julio, you’re killing me.

Bottom 4:
That was quick. Nice!

Top 5:
Two quick outs from Pedroia and Youk, and then Papi singles to the opposite field, which I love. Then bases loaded, and nuffink. Which I don’t love, so much.

Bottom 5:
Tim McCarver: baseball player, sportscaster, rock and roll aficionado. Shut up, McCarver. And sit down, Kenny Lofton. Don’t start nothin’.

Oh, look, it’s the Bad News Bears in the infield! Why the hell was Lugo even going for that ball?

Ah, just put your trust in Beckett. Strike three, Scroobs.

Top 6:
You know, I love “Sounds of the Game” and I really enjoyed Gary Cederstrom’s brawl-avoidance. “Josh, not a word. Not a word, dude.” I think it’s awesome Cederstrom calls Beckett “dude.”

Oh, were Varitek, Crisp, and Lugo batting?

Bottom 6:
What is there to say? Beckett is undisputedly the man.

Top 7:
The montage starting this inning was unnecessarily treacly, I think. Pedroia’s gapper, however, works for me. 2B!

Yoooouk!!!111! Gotta love a run-scoring triple that knocks out Sebathia. Well done, Sweatiest Man In Baseball.

Hey, you know what? I am officially sick of the Miller High Life commercials.

Ortizzle with a sac fly RBI! I’m staring to unclench a little about this game.

Bottom 7:
Holy crap, with one out in the seventh, Beckett just threw his 86th pitch. That’s… not a lot of pitches. Of course, on the 87th, Lofton reaches on an E1.

Called third strike! My favorite way to end an inning. (I guess.)

Top 8:
Welcome to the game, J. D. Drew! A lead off walk is not the worst you could do. (By the way, Fox, I wouldn’t mind a camera permanently focused on the Red Sox bullpen. The Lester/Delcarmen drum corp is cracking me up.)

Wow. E1, everybody’ s safe! And then a bunt for a base hit by Lugo loads the bases! This is shaping up to be the kind of exciting inning where the Red Sox catch a couple of breaks and then piss it all away.

Hey, a passed ball! 5-1! And a walk to re-load the bases for Youk! Look at how excited I am! Count the exclamation marks!

Mastny walks in a run, and now the bases are loaded for Big Papi. This is starting to feel awesome. Eh, RBI sac fly. Kinda disappointed, actually.

OK, so here’s a question. If Beckett comes out for the 8th at 96 pitches with a 5+ run lead, is that a pretty clear sign that Tito’s lost faith in the bullpen? Also, McCarver seems to think that “mantra” means “philosophy.” (Beckett won’t come back on short rest to pitch game 7 because that’s not Boston’s “mantra.”)

Bottom 8:
OK, Beckett does start the 8th, but Jeemer and the Bot are warming. Let’s hope Francona’s got his walking shoes on if things start to get hairy. Rachel and I agree, however, that taking him out and keeping his arm available for emergency relief in Game 7, would have been the better call.

Hey, that worked out!

Top 9:
Bill Simmons neatly summed up J. D. Drew’s schtick of getting a nice looking base-hit when it doesn’t matter, such as, for instance, leading off the ninth when you’re leading by 6.

Bottom 9:
First and third, but I’m not worried.

Rock. Beckett + Papelbon = bring on game 6.

ALCS Game 5

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

So, when my coblogger AC came on board, he wanted to start a feature called “Three-Sentence Reviews” where we’d keep track of the books we’d each read, movies we’d seen, etc., and provide a quick three-sentence review of each. I guess the idea would be that we’d have a gimmick (“unsolicited opinions in only three sentences!”) and they’d be easy to write. I’ve been struggling with the three-sentence limitation, to AC’s chagrin, and this review was particularly taxing. On the one hand, long reviews of Harry Potter movies are kind of my thing. On the other hand, I could sum this movie up in three sentences:

It was OK. Michael Gambon sucks. Read the book.

I want to make clear, right off the bat, that I’m not going to be one of those people who complains because they had to cut elements of the book to make the film. The movie was more than two hours long, and the book badly needed an editor to begin with. I fully expected that scenes would have to be cut to fit, and in general I’m satisfied with how that was done. For instance, the interlude at St. Mungo’s was excised, and (since we missed it in the movie version of Goblet of Fire, too) Neville just tells Harry about his parents and Bellatrix Lestrange: fine. The changes to GoF meant that Rita Skeeter and the Quibbler didn’t make it; I thought at the time this would be a big problem, but it was pretty effectively glossed over. Dobby and SPEW were cut: whew. The career of the DA and Umbridge’s reign of terror at Hogwarts were compressed into a completely effective montage: excellent. There was no Quidditch: thank god.

Some cuts weren’t quite so elegant. Harry and Cho’s relationship was greatly compressed. In the movie, their breakup is the result of Cho being the one who reveals the existence of the DA to Umbridge. The Cedric-related angst and their awful date in Hogsmeade didn’t make it. That’s fine, but when it’s later revealed in the movie that she was forced to confess — under the influence of Veritaserum — there’s no explanation for why they don’t make up. We also lost Dumbledore’s howler to Aunt Petunia, Ron and Hermione as prefects, the whole “cleaning Grimmauld Place” sequence (Kreacher is in the movie but serves no purpose), and Harry’s aspiration to become an Auror.

Grawp, however, was kept, as was an abbreviated report of Hagrid’s mission to the giants. Fred and George do make their dramatic exit from Hogwards, although it lacks the drama of the scene in the book. The Inquisitorial Squad and the rest of all of Umbridge’s nastiness made the cut.

For all that was lost, Michael Goldenberg did a very impressive job with the plot. It hung together — as a story — much better Steve Kloves’s GoF. Unfortunately, I think the success with the plot caused the characterizations to suffer. The movie just races along (as it must) from Privet Drive, to Grimmauld Place, to the trial at the Ministry, to Hogwarts, and it means that emotions don’t really get to build. Because we don’t see Harry’s weeks of impatience of being kept in the dark, his short-tempered-ness is both under- and over-played. It’s nowhere near as extreme as in the book, but even the flashes of adolescent snappiness we do get don’t feel justified by what we’ve seen.

There were some things about the movie that were excellent. The first fifteen minutes or so raised my hopes and expectations considerably. The three kids all give performances that are much, much better than in any of the previous movies — Daniel Radcliffe in particular was very good. Evanna Lynch is a pretty delightful Luna Lovegood. A conscious decision seems to have been made to focus the story on the kids at the expense of the adults — the Hogwarts teachers each get what is essentially a cameo. The exception, of course, is Imelda Staunton who is fantastic as Dolores Umbridge.

As with Goblet of Fire the absolutely fatal flaw in the movie was Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore. Seriously. It’s appalling. Let’s start with Dumbledore’s first appearance in both the book and the film, at Harry’s trial before the Wizengamot:

“Ah,” said Fudge, who looked thoroughly disconcerted. “Dumbledore. Yes. You – er – got our – er message that the time and – er – place of the hearing had been changed, then?”

“I must have missed it,” said Dumbledore cheerfully. “However, due to a lucky mistake I arrived at the Ministry three hours early, so no harm done.”

Michael Gambon does not deliver this line — or any other — cheerfully. He delivers it with narrow-eyed menace. This is the essence of the problem that is this disastrous bit of casting. This Dumbledore isn’t the calm, pleasant, funny headmaster of Hogwarts; Gambon plays him as if he’s bitter about being passed over by Christopher Lee for the role of Saruman. To take another example: the climactic scene of the book and the movie is the long-awaited duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore at the Ministry of Magic. Part of the reason the scene is so awesome as written is Dumbledore’s calm unhurried confidence in fighting the Dark Lord:

Dumbledore flicked his own wand: the force of the spell that emanated from it was such that Harry, though shielded by his golden guard, felt his hair stand on end as it passed and this time Voldemort was forced to conjure a shining silver shield out of thin air to deflect it….

“You do not seek to kill me, Dumbledore?” called Voldemort, his scarlet eyes narrowed over the top of the shield. “Above such brutality, are you?”

“We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom,” Dumbledore said calmly, continuing to walk towards Voldemort as though he had not a care in the world, as though nothing had happened to interrupt his stroll up the hall.

See? That is awesome. Dumbledore vs Voldemort, and already Dumbledore is kicking ass on style points. In the film, Dumbledore seems desperate and vulnerable, hurling spells at Voldemort without saying a word. To be sure, the visual effects during the duel are incredible: it’s a very exciting scene. It’s just not the scene from the book. In fact, watching every scene with Dumbledore you’re forced to wonder whether Gambon and David Yates even bothered to crack the cover.

He sucks. He sucks out loud, and it makes me wonder how the movie for Half-Blood Prince can possibly function. That story revolves around Harry and Dumbledore talking and adventuring together, and it’s impossible to imagine the character that Gambon portrays having a comradely relationship with anyone, much less Harry. It’s going to be a disaster.

(Actually, there’s another problem, and much as I hate to say it, it’s with Alan Rickman’s Snape. In all five films to date, Snape has done nothing — not a single thing — that has given the audience any reason to doubt his commitment to Dumbledore. Since the ambiguity of Snape’s allegiance is crucial to book six, I don’t know how they’re going to deal with the fact that they haven’t even bothered to set up the fact that Snape’s a double agent yet. They’re going to have to fit his entire character arc into a single film, which is possible, sure, but it’s going to be rushed.)

So, it’s not surprising that the movie sucked from the point of view of an obsessed fan of the books, but it was definitely the least bad of all the films so far. Radcliffe, Grint, Watson and the rest of the kids do a good job, even if they’re all starting to grow out of their roles. And let’s face it, you’re going to see this one anyway. It could have been worse.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

24 Season 6. Episode 14, 7 PM – 8 PM

7:05: I don’t remember Milo having a sling last week. I can’t believe that’s the only thing I’ve had to comment on in the first 5 minutes.
-Chloe doesn’t want to report you, she just wants to warn you, gosh!
7:07: Oh good, General Walsh. He’s Hal Turner’s cousin.
-So we’ve got 4 minutes until the drone gets to LA. But maybe it’s going to Vegas?
-This Russian guy is good. He can hack into C.T.U. and make them lose visual contact with the drone.
-This VP is batshit crazy. He’s going to nuke the Ambiguous Arab Nation as a response to some stateless terrorists. Maybe the leader of the Ambiguous Arab Nation “tried to kill his daddy.”
7:15? OH NO, I MISSED IT. WHAT HAPPENED? I WAS WASHING DISHES.
-Why does Bill Buchannon want to make sure that first responders are deployed in the target areas? Wouldn’t he want to make sure that they are underground in a bunker and not able to get hit by a bomb? So that they can first respond?
7:16: Oh man. She wanted it. She wanted it so bad! Sorry. Jack Bauer doesn’t just kiss peeps like that. He’s got Audrey on the brain.
-Audrey’s dead? Accident? When? China? Well, that’s twisty.
-This music imples Jack Bauer’s about to crack?
-Maybe an intern could pull the files for Jack Bauer? Chloe’s a little busy.
-“Any objection to your plans will not be able to gain traction.” I’m thinking that the Joint Chiefs MIGHT be a bit skeptical about a VP who wants to launch unprovoked nuclear attacks. But then again, what do I know?
-Wait, is this the cabinet or the Joint Chiefs?
-Wouldn’t this “dangerous and reckless” action need to be approved by Congress? Meh.
7:28: That was a strange interaction with Milo and Nadia. And now another one between Milo and Chloe. I still can’t believe his name is Milo.
-Actually, typing that, I realized I went to nursery school with a girl named Milo and a girl named Chloe. Milo has the same birthday as me and Chloe’s dad owned a diner in Boston and collected tons of toys.
-I wonder how that kiss makes Morris feel, the breath checking kiss.
7:31: And here we go. Our first leak of the year! Who won the pool?
-Milo just needs to fess up right now about Nadia working on his machine.
-Jessie and I think Nadia must be getting set up.
-San Francisco in 20 minutes. Which means the drone should get blown up in about 19 minutes.
7:39: Shitty, they had to induce a coma in the President, that should put him out commission for a while.
-“He’s a fighter, we have that much going for us.” Wow. Thanks, they couldn’t write a better line than that? I think I wrote that line in a story I wrote in 5th Grade.
-Karen Hayes is going to bring the President back from the coma endangering his life and risking permanent brain damage in order to keep the VP from nuking the Ambiguous Arab Nation.
-Why is that doctor in such a rush? Isn’t he the President’s physician? Who else does he have to take care of?
7:41:Torture scene 11: (Nadia).
-Seems like Doyle Schroeder was at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo.
7:43: Jack Bauer has been pretty much out of this episode. We’ll see what happens.
-I bet he looks at the file and determines that she’s still alive because of ring or a tattoo or something.
7:50: We’re nearing the 20 minute mark on the drone.
-It’s probable that Nadia isn’t the bad girl. Who do we think it is? Doyle? Milo? Morris? Chloe? Buchannon?
7:52: Maybe what happens is that Doyle shoots everyone before they can get interrogated.
-JBKC 14 and 15 and 16. (Drone pilots)
-Or Jack Bauer shoots everyone before they can get interrogated.
-How many hours do you think Jack Bauer has flying a flight simulator.
-The music reminds me of Peter and the Wolf.
-“OK, it’s turning.” WTF does that mean? It wasn’t turning before?
-And yet Jack Bauer stalls it out anyway. Good going.
-I don’t think the bomb detonates a nuclear explosion unless it…detonates. Just crashing the drone doesn’t detonate the nuke.
-See what I mean?
-I mean it’s on fire now, and not detonating.
-How did Fire and Rescue get there so quickly? Why do I bother even asking? Anyone can get anywhere in 30 seconds, unless they can’t, and then it takes 5 minutes or 30 minutes.
-The VP is going to be pissed he can’t send a nuke into the Ambiguous Arab Nation.
-Oh wait, no he won’t, this VP is nuts.
-The first responders were exposed to fatal does of radioactive material? Why even bother?
-The VP has his Anne Coulter hang up the phone for him.
-The VP adjusts reality to fit into his warped worldview. And this gets right wingers excited and he’s heroic to them? Really? They don’t think he’s psycho?

24 Season 6. Episode 14, 7 PM – 8 PM

24: Episode 7, 1 PM – 2 PM

Key Words: , , , , ,

Well, Jack Bauer, what have you got for me this week?
9:03: I’m pretty sure they choseGregory Itzin to play President Logan because of how much he looks like Richard M. Nixon.
9:05: A daughter? Who doesn’t know you’re alive? Maybe you should see her at some point in the next hour? What do you think Jack Bauer? I was right, I was right. How long before she shows up?
9:05: Jack Bauer, the president won’t let you quit, he’s latched on to you like a giant boa constrictor of Executive Privilege and there’s no way for you to get out now.
9:06: The man with the yellow tie is an equal opportunity terrorist. If he can’t kill Russians, he’ll happily kill Americans.
9:07: What is Lynn’s relationship with this crack hooker? Oh, his sister. It seems like all the good genes went to Lynn from that set of parents. How are they going to make his meeting with her more dramatic, and more importantly, where is he going to get $500 in the next twenty minutes without going to the bank? I guess we’ll find out.
9:11: Chloe is a good problem solver when the problem is a high-end proprietary security system and the solution is the dude she was bagging. Also, she’s very adept at rolling her eyes.
9:12: “Audrey, the president thinks I can help.” Jack Bauer’s blood isn’t red, it’s red, white and blue.
9:18: Really, I don’t think there’s any chance that the First Lady’s going to be the first one he turns to for advice. Especially if she keeps slapping him like that. It’s not going to make her seem less loony.
9:19: Are we supposed to sympathize with President Logan and think that’s he’s changed a lot and that he’s going to be a good president for the next eighteen hours? I don’t know about you, but it’s going to take more than a kiss and slap scene with his wife and the aide he arrested illegally for me to change my mind.
9:21: “The only thing they won’t forgive is being lied to.” “I agree, why don’t we work on it together and see what we come up with.” Sheesh. This show definitely sucks again. Last week was unfortunately an exception and not the rule.
9:21: “It’s a proprietary network, so get to work.” Chloe’s describing the security on the building Jack Bauer needs to get into. Now, I don’t know what “proprietary network” means, really, but it seems like the majority of America, probably doesn’t either. However, I have to imagine that the people who do know what that means probably think this show is pretty dumb, though.
9:24: “Status check blue” sounds like “Flank 2 position.” Doesn’t it?
9:26: JBKC: 4 (3 security guards, Roessler).
9:28: I don’t have much to say about the Russian slave Roessler was keeping. It was funny, however, when she asked if Jack Bauer and Curtis were the police and Jack Bauer said something or other. Like she knows the difference.
9:33: I kind of hope the terrorist kills the motorcycle mechanic just to prove a point. “See kids, it just shows to go ya that you can NEVER trust a terrorist.”
9:35: “Trust me, you don’t want to go down this road with me.” If that guy just cried out like that from a little slap, there’s no way he’s going to last too long. He just doesn’t have the stones. Torture: 1. I really like the way Jack Bauer bargains. This guy asks for a lot, Jack Bauer does not bend an inch. WTF? Lynn just lets this guy go? No way. I guess he doesn’t have time for this type of thing when family is involved. How can Jack Bauer let him have the girl? He’s got a daughter about that age. How would Jack Bauer feel if someone took his daughter and used her as a pawn in an immunity deal with an aider abettor of known terrorists? How would he feel if he knew I made up words like aider?
9:42: Jack Bauer’s beautiful plan is to put a chip onto a chip? That doesn’t really seem like it’s going to work out, but Jack Bauer does what he wants around here.
9:44: Chloe has a serious personality disorder. It’s not even worth pretending that you’d want to hang out with her because having her around would not be revenue neutral. She’d be a total drag
9:46: What is going to happen in the west hallway? I can’t even imagine what the next plot twist is going to be. Oh. Walt Cummings is hanging from the ceiling. That fits.
9:47: NJBD: 1 (Walt Cummings). Something’s definitely up, and I don’t just mean Walt hanging from the ceiling. The first lady had motive (Cummings killed Palmer), Mike Novick had motive (political fallout reduction), President Charles Logan had motive… Well, no he didn’t, but he is clueless enough for lots of crimes to be committed on his watch.
9:52: Really, why is Lynn carrying $500 around? Oh. He’s just got a piece of paper worth $500. Samwise is such a douche, he just got mugged by his sister and her guy. How many times do you suppose that’s happened? 4? 5? Lynn’s sister probably calls every spring and pulls the same trick. Unbelievable. What was the point of that little plot twist? Did they really need to fill time that badly? I guess so.
9:54: Jack Bauer is really going to try to send this 15 year old off with Roessler? There’s just no way.
9:55: Listen to Jack Bauer. When he says something like “I promise I won’t let anything happen to you,” one of two things is going to happen. Either nothing is going to happen to you, or something really bad is going to happen to you.
9:55: Prediction: The Russian girl isn’t in the bedroom when they get back.
9:56: YES! See?! That’s why you can’t trust a terrorist. They give their word they won’t kill you and then they kill you after you finish helping them.
9:57: Damn it. Wrong again. The Russian girl was there. And no Kim Bauer? WTF.
9:58: Well, that works, too. Imagine how mad President Logan will be when he hears that a 15 year old illegal Russian immigrant just shot the only link to the nerve gas. He’ll ask if that’s enough to go to war. I know it!
Final thoughts:
4 JBKC, 1 torture, 2 NJBD, Prediction Ratio 0% (0 out of 2).
It was pretty clear that something was going to happen with the Russian girl. She was either going to kill herself, kill the guy, or run away. I thought run away made the most sense, but I should have been able to figure it out. I’ve got to step it up.
Totals for the season, 17 JBKCs, 2 torture, 16 NJBDs, Prediction Ratio 37.5% (3 out of 8).

24: Episode 7, 1 PM – 2 PM

24: Episode 5, 11 AM – 12 PM

Key Words: , , , ,

The first real week of “24”. Can they make the magic using only 60 minutes instead of last week’s 120? We’ll see.
9:03: Jack Bauer is in custody, but still being used as a resource, he must be steamed.
9:04: See, this is why you don’t drug a First Lady and leave her on a bed all asunder. You’re bound to get caught, Walt. Jack Bauer is probably already on to you.
9:05: The energy crisis is hitting C.T.U. just like everyone else. They’re still driving SUVs, but each SUV is required to carry 5 passengers inside the vehicle and at least 4 hangers on.
9:08: Oh, ho ho. These terrorists are smuggling poisonous gasses OUT of the country. Is it possible Jack Bauer should be helping them?
9:11: Does the Secret Service protect a First Lady if she’s in an asylum.
9:12: Why is it that C.T.U. is easier for bad guys to infiltrate than, well, there’s never ever been an entity easier to infiltrate, ever. I guess, that if Kim Bauer could get hired, they’ll hire any body off the street as long as they have agent training and clearance. Though if Walt can be a baddie and also President Logan’s most trusted aid, this alternate “24” universe is filled with the most gullible people of any work of fiction. I’m trying to suspend my disbelief so I can enjoy the show, but really.
9:19: Chloe sleeps with who she wants around here, Spencer, get used to it. Isn’t Spencer too obvious a bad guy to be the inside guy?
9:19: I’m still intrigued by how giant Edgar is. It’s like the actor who plays Edgar this year ate the actor who played Edgar last year whole and still hasn’t digested him yet.
9:20: And if Spencer is such a bad guy, won’t Mr. McGill catch him? Here’s what I think Audrey’s interrogation is going to be like. “Wait, you slept with Jack Bauer? That’s so funny, I did, too! Wow, what a small world, huh? Woo. So where was he when David Palmer was killed?”
9:22: Audrey says, “Yes, I knew him.” While thinking, “In the Biblical sense.”
9:27: LEVEL TWO CLEARANCE?! LEVEL TWO CLEARANCE? I can’t believe that’s all he got. Jack Bauer sprinkles Level Two Clearance on his oatmeal in the morning. That is, on the days that he’s eating. Lucky for Mr. McGill, today isn’t one of those days.
9:29: “So you don’t have a personal relationship with him?” That’s Audrey’s way of saying “Wait, do you KNOW him or not?”
9:31: “Jack, you made a hard decision.” Come on, that’s too easy for me. Sheesh.
9:33: “I needed to get into your utilities volume.” Oh, Chloe, stop it, you’re too much. Her days are filled with self-doubt and lust, just like all of us. Chloe reminds me of a rhinoceros, always has, anyone else?
9:36: Wait, so Spencer got this guy in to C.T.U. legitimately and he just happens to be an assassin? What a serendipitous twist of fate! I have to say, the terrorists have had Lady Luck on their side in each of the past three seasons and you know what? When Jack Bauer was done with Lady Luck she was begging him to stop while secretly wanting more and Jack Bauer gave it to her, too.
9:40: JR said it would be a big scandal for the First Lady to be committed. I said it would be a bigger scandal for her to commit suicide. We were both wrong. Don’t First Ladies get fitted for GPS tags or something? You’d think they would be after one of the daughters went missing on The West Wing a couple seasons ago?
9:52: Jack Bauer likes Derrick so much because he has never had a son with two arms before. Get it? Chase? Get it? Because Chase…Oh, nevermind.
9:52: Spencer is such a bad bad guy. Too bad to be bad? I think so. He must be good. Prediction? Chase isn’t a bad guy.
9:53: The first violence of the episode. What’s going to happen? Is there anyway for Jack Bauer to kill the assassin 11 times to get his JBKC up?
9:53: NJBD: 1 (Doctor Paulson). JBKC: 1 (The baddie who killed Doctor Paulson). Cracked rib, huh? How long does that slow Jack Bauer down for? Not long I’d bet.
9:56: Can Internal Affairs agents get in trouble? Walt Cummings wanted to make sure C.T.U. was operating within the rules, but he went outside the rules to do it. Just like last year with all torture all the time (Jack Bauer would have cut wholes in Spencer to get him to talk last year) this year is mirroring the new government scandal. What I haven’t been able to figure out yet, Is whether the writers of “24” are trying to portray this favorably or not. Do they have an opinion or are they just objectively putting in their commentary using Jack Bauer as their pen?
Final thoughts:
JBKC: 1, torture scenes 0, NJBD: 1, Prediction Ratio: 100%
A kindler, gentler “24”? Tonight it was, and I don’t think it was that bad, either.

Totals for the season, 12 JBKCs, 1 torture, NJBD: 13, Prediction Ratio 40% (2 out of 5).

24: Episode 5, 11 AM – 12 PM

That’s What’s Inside

Last night, Rachel cracked open a fortune cookie and pulled out what may very well be the best fortune ever, beating such past favorites as

You will get some new clothes.

and

You will be on the list of the excellent people this year.

The new contender?

When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out — because that’s what’s inside.

Lucky numbers: 21, 44, 28, 33, 14, 8

It’s simple, elegant, self-evidently true, and (I believe) truly comforting to any one in need of reassurance that, in this topsy-turvy world, sometimes things are the way they seem.

That’s What’s Inside