The iPad

I don’t give a shit about it.

That is all.

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Music Recommendation: “Picaresque” by The Decemberists

Picaresque by The Decemberists

It might seem odd that I’m recommending an album that came out in 2005, but I am for a couple of reasons.

1) Not many people listen to The Decemberists, and I want to create Decemberists-awareness, as it were.
2) Despite being a Decemberists fan since the release of The Crane Wife in 2006, I hadn’t listened to what I now consider their best work, Picaresque.

Picaresque really hammers the Decemberists Portland origins with the nautical themes and lovelorn ballads. Songs like “The Engine Driver” and “From My Own True Love (Lost At Sea)” tell some sad sagas, whereas “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” sets the pattern of epic storytelling that the band would continue in The Crane Wife. “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” is an 8 minute riveting story of revenge and murder, beginning and ending in the belly of a whale (how many songs can boast that?).

Check it out and give it a listen!

Man, I am so impressed with Fringe

WARNING: SPOILERS

Fringe alternate title sequence

Last night, Fringe returned after a near 2-month hiatus from the airwaves, and it was a very welcome return. When we left off, FBI Agent Olivia Dunham had discovered her latent ability to recognize objects from the other side. At the end of the episode back in February (“Jacksonville”) Olivia realizes something we’ve known since the finale of the first season – Peter is from the other universe. It is a pensive Olivia we find at the start of last night’s episode (“Peter”) when she is called upon by Walter Bishop. Walter tells her the story of what happened to the Peter from this universe, and how he took the other Peter from the other side. We are then treated to a flashback to 1985.

A younger Walter Bishop.

A younger Walter Bishop.

Walter is doing a demonstration for the US military, regarding obtaining and copying technology from the other universe, which is at least 30 years ahead of their own (for some reason, Walter decides to use a Motorola RAZR as a demonstration of advanced technology; funny joke I suppose). The military officials are then treated to a view of the alternate universe, using a window device that becomes an important plot point.

Alternate universe New York

They love zeppelins in the other universe.

They also decided to change the title sequence just for this episode, just to make it seem very 80’s, and I have to say, mission accomplished. From the synthesizer beats to the names of technologies that we in 2010 take for granted, it really set the mood of the episode ahead. The visual style seemed very Tron-like as well.

Fringe title sequence

Personal computing? DNA profiling?! Keep dreamin', 80's!

Of course, we know all about Peter being sick, and Walter’s obsession with finding a cure. He begins observing the alternate Walter (dubbed “Walternate” by him) in hopes that the technologically advanced Walter could find a cure for him. It’s in vain, however, as Peter dies before Walter can find a cure.

Walter and Peter

Father and son

Walter becomes obsessive with observing Walternate, and seeing if he’ll find a cure. He does indeed, but is interrupted by none other than an Observer. Walter sees the cure develop, but Walternate does not. Walter is determined to travel to the other side, despite protestations by his assistant and Nina Sharpe, and administer the cure himself. When he gets there, the vial carrying the cure is destroyed, so he has no choice but to bring Peter back to his universe and cure him at his lab.

Walter and Peter

Walter arrives in his own universe with the alternate Peter

There he cures him, and fully intends to take him back to his own universe, but can’t bring himself to lose his son again. We zip back to 2010, and Walter explains to Olivia that taking Peter started to fracture the boundaries between our universe and theirs.

Overall, it was an excellent episode and a great return to the mythology of Fringe. This season has been really heavy on monster/virus-of-the-week episodes and I find the mythology behind Fringe so fun and deep, it’s always a good episode when they delve into it.

One thing that was mentioned again in this episode and made me excited for future possibilities was Peter’s “importance”. After the Observer interrupts Walternate, he meets with other Observers and admits his mistake, reiterating that Peter must be saved. Peter’s importance has been mentioned in other episodes but nothing really came of it, so I’m glad they brought up that plot point again.

The Observers

The Observers discuss Peter's "importance"

This scene also led to one of the best jokes in the episode, which I’ll just post as a picture.

Back to the Future

Just imagine.

Anyway, that was my write-up/recap of last night’s episode “Peter”. Colour me very excited for next week, and the next 7 uninterrupted weeks of Fringe, until the two-part season finale. Also a congratulations to the cast and crew of Fringe for being renewed for a third season. FOX has ordered another 22 episodes of this great show.

The Stimulus Package has arrived

So a couple of days ago, the new “Stimulus Package” map pack arrived for the game Modern Warfare 2 on the XBOX 360 (it arrives on PS3 and PC in a month). I’ve been playing the new maps – three new ones, two remakes from Call of Duty 4 – and it’s a lot of fun. Just playing the “Stimulus” playlist lets me try out game modes I generally wouldn’t play on the new maps.

Here’s me playing a game on one of the new maps, “Storm”. Check it!