This weekend was a semi-busy weekend for me. I wasn't terribly productive, except for running a 5k race and putting 20 cds up on Ebay, but I did get a few things watched.
First is the documentary Gunner Palace. This movie follows a particular group of soldiers in Iraq and gives us a glimpse into their daily life. We follow them on patrols and get to hear what they have to say about being in Iraq, and their frustrations with the situation, lack of armor, and risking their lives when people at home will be forgetting all about what they are doing. Very interesting documentary, and the squad rapper/poet has some heartfelt verses about the situation. It's a little disjointed, though, because Gunner Palace really doesn't follow any sort of narrative structure. There's no point A to point B. But that's okay. The picture of the soldier's life is a very good one.
Second is a couple of episodes of Commander in Chief. This continues to be a quality show. I think we're at the point that Rod Lurie had left the show, so we'll see how things continue. Geena Davis makes a credible President, one who wants to do the right thing, is intelligent and strong yet compassionate.
Third is the first part of the History Channel documentary on the Crusades. It's called "The Crusades: The Crescent and the Cross". It's fairly interesting and it seems fair to both sides, though it veers a little negative in the actions of the Christian Crusaders...but then I suspect it should be. It grants the genuine devotion to religion and spirituality and that many of the Crusaders went off with the best of intentions and the belief that they truly are doing the right thing, but also acknowledged that others may have went for profit and plunder and to be a warlord in the Middle East. Neither side really comes out smelling like roses in this documentary.
Fourth is the Ironman Triathlon World Championships at Kona. Inspiring. Truly inspiring. I don't care so much about the elite athlete stories, it is the common people who are interesting. If you can call them common. There is always a focus on those who have the best stories, like a guy named Blais. Blais is suffering from the early onset of Lou Gehrig's disease and has already lost the use of one of his hands, so he has an additional challenge. So, you know that if he can't finish this year he never will because he will likely be in worse shape next year. Then there is Sarah Reinertson. Sarah was profiled in 2004 as well. She is a single leg amputee (below the knee, I think) and last year she didn't make the cut-off time on the bike, so she didn't get to do the marathon. This year she clear the swim, makes the bike, and I felt a little choked up as she finished. More so than the guy with ALS. It is amazing what people can do when they are determined to work for it.
Fifth is the second part of Category 7: The End of the World. This is the crappy CBS mini-series/movie about a superstorm destroying the planet. Blah blah. Still crappy and now there is this kidnapping plot thrown into it, like giant hurricanes with 400 mph wind isn't nasty enough. Whatever. Honestly, it didn't get any better in the second part. Why do I watch this crap? Do you think there is any chance there is any scientific basis for the weather claims the movie makes? I doubt it, too. But, in case you are curious and didn't bother watching the claim is that something in the atmosphere is dropping (really cold stuff), which is causing these low pressure storms (is it low pressure, I don't know), but this is what is causing these extra powerful storms. Now, when they get over a city the city has these rising columns of heat. This part makes sense because a city should have a greater concentration of heat energy than any other area. When the heat mixes with the already powerful storm you get these super storms and when a couple of super storms combine over a city...you get a crappy movie. The solution, turn off all the power in the city which should lower the city's temperature quickly enough to lessen the storm...but then when they finally do this the storm isn't lessened...it flat out disappears and the the sun comes out. Oh. My. God. Who wrote this crap and what is Gina Gershon doing?
Sixth, because it just gets better, I tried to watch the Penn and Teller special while putting stuff up on ebay. They make a sub disappear and do random other tricks. The one cool thing is that the reveal how they did everything, but otherwise it was kind of lame. Sure the disappearing submarine was interesting (yes, a submarine, not a sub sandwich) in theory, but watching it happen wasn't. Blah blah, blah.