This Day In History: 06/12

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Last Alias Post Ever

Warning: This post contains minor spoilers about every season of Alias. No major plot points of season five are revealed.

It was Sunday, September 30, 2001 when Alias first premiered. I knew very little about it when I turned it on, but was intrigued by the commercial bombardment on TV, in newspapers, and even on the sides of buses. My initial impressions were: kind of neat, a little over the top, but a worthwhile diversion for one hour each week. So while all the rest of my friends were watching The Sopranos, I started tuning into Alias regularly. It wasn't until about halfway through the first season that I actually got hooked and became an annoying Aliasphile.

It's hard to explain in words why I'm so invested in the show when, as many friends who are sick of hearing about it point out, "it's just a show". This is true -- it is just a show, albeit a very well-done one, but it's my show. Alias came out just as I started grad school in a new state at the ripe young age of 21, and was something of a dependable escape throughout the years as I grew up and entered the real world. To an extent, we grew up together. It was the only show I'd every plan the rest of my schedule around rather than taping it, and gave me a reward to look forward to at the end of every week, good ones and bad ones. My love for Alias probably meets or exceeds Mike's love of Desperate Housewives, Kim's love of Gilmore Girls, or my mom's love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even if Alias were a horrible, horrible show, it still functions as a yardstick in my memory, giving me pleasant historical milestones to go along with the events occuring in my life. To people who think TV is for the brain-dead, this might seem strange, but does anyone else understand what I mean?

For my last post featuring Alias ever, I thought I'd list some of my thoughts, memories, and gentle-hearted critiques of the show. Five years is an awfully long time.

  • Alias is the only show that has ever completely surprised me in its plot line. The storyline in the second season involving Arvin Sloane and his wife's ghost left me shell-shocked in its resolution, and showed that the writers had had long-term goals planned since the season before it. If I were to rate the seasons from best to worst, it'd be 2, 1, 4, 5, 3.

  • Best standalone episodes: the one in the third season guest starring Ricky Gervais from The Office as a terrorist, and the one in the fourth season where Sydney gets buried alive. Worst episodes: the ones in the first season where Sydney likes Noah Hicks, oddest-looking love interest on primetime TV, and the season finale of season three which made no sense at all and was promptly forgotten at the start of the next season. Best special effect: Irina Derevko's rooftop escape in the season finale of season two. Worst special effect: in season three when Sloane raises the hourglass over his head and smashes it, then a glob of Rambaldi juice appears that looks almost like Slimer from Ghostbusters.

  • I wish Will Tippon had remained a regular character. I wish Francie had not come back after season two. Marshall's a great character but I think they really overdid his shtick in season three and four. I never had a problem with Lauren Reed, but I was never a fan of Melissa George. The triumvirate of Jack Bristow, Arvin Sloane, and Marcus Dixon were played by such ridiculously good actors that they could have carried the show alone for years.

  • I remember when it was sponsored by some cell phone company in the first season, who paid to have the pilot shown without commercials. Every time a cell phone rang in the show, it'd be that god-awful ring "deedle-oo doo deedle-oo doo deedle-oo doo daa!". I remember in the third season when it was sponsored by Ford and every single car in the world was a Ford (with every chase scene zooming in on the logo near the back bumper). The CIA used a lot of Macs too. Macs running Windows.

  • Best spine-tingling acting moment: when Sloane bludgeons the henchman with the Mueller device in season four and calls him a dilletante.

  • I didn't like Marcus Dixon's new hairstyle in season five.

  • Alias introduced me to the music of Michael Giacchino, who got his start writing the music to the video game, Medal of Honor, and has since gone on to write for a ton of major movies. I remember thinking his motivic techno music with orchestral accompaniment in the first season was very clever (577KB MP3), and I remember listening his music evolve into more lush, traditional film scoring in the second season. I also remember in the third season, where they apparently trimmed the music budget, so the same annoying 8 bar phrase was reused on every single episode (and still occasionally popped up in later seasons). I bet the third season soundtrack will be a very short CD.

  • I remember getting Anna, Ben, Eric, Jason, and Rosie hooked on Alias. I remember when Eric watched 10 episodes in a day. I remember Anna's Alias-dance to the theme song (200KB MP3).

  • I thought the ending of season five was well-done, and characters ended up where they should have. Sloane's end was quite poetic, although Irina Derevko's ending seemed somewhat contrived, as if they couldn't quite tell where to fit her in. I hated the conceit that Michael Vaughn wasn't Michael Vaughn but forgave it as being a little better than the resolution of season three's cliffhanger. Season five was compressed by six episodes and it really shows -- but I thought it was successful given the constraints. Sloane's transformation in this season seemed somewhat forced and sudden, but probably would have been better given a few more episodes.

  • The new APO agents in the last season, Rachel Gibson and Thomas Grace, were completely irrelevant to the plot, other than being eye candy, and probably could have been streamlined, and we never did find out what the Cardinal was all about. This was probably another thing trimmed when they lost six episodes. As Sydney said in the third season, "Why did the ABC suits take six episodes of my life?"

  • I will always wonder how the third season and the remainder of the show would have turned out had Lena Olin not been missing in action.

  • Thanks J.J. Abrams and Friends for a great five years!

  • Today is 12 of 12 so take some pictures!

    Happy Birthday Mike Schoen!

    Where not to have sex
    Video games are mind-stimulating
    Pizza with a side of superheroes

    permalink | 4 comments

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    Newsday Tuesday

    Va. Tech Relatives Lambaste Response

    Relatives of the Virginia Tech massacre victims said yesterday that they had not been granted representation on the panel investigating the killings and described themselves as "both angry and disappointed."

    At the risk of sounding unsympathetic, I'd say that the relatives of victims in the shooting have about as much of a right to be on the investigation committee as I have to call myself a professional basketball player (although this might be a bad analogy since I was on the music theory basketball team that had an unbroken 16 game streak). The purpose of the panel is to examine the incident from an unbiased perspective and determine if anything can be done to prevent future incidents. I'd guess that the most effective panel would be made up of experts -- experts on gun transactions, mental health, and police / emergency responses.

    Unless one of those relatives is an expert in a pertinent field, they have no right or privilege to be on the panel, and would be of no use in helping it reach any conclusions. They can read the published findings with the rest of us non-panelists -- on the aisle display at Costco.

    Lambasting is fun though -- especially with tomato sauce.

    NASA surveillance captures giant plume from Io's erupting volcano

    This five-frame sequence of New Horizons images captures the giant plume from Io's Tvashtar volcano. Snapped by the probe's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) as the spacecraft flew past Jupiter earlier this year, this first-ever "movie" of an Io plume clearly shows motion in the cloud of volcanic debris, which extends 330 kilometers (200 miles) above the moon's surface.

    In related news, accusations began to fly almost immediately on Capitol Hill over which administration officials leaked information about the plume to the press and whether Scooter Libby was involved.

    As ancient readers can attest, I'm not a big fan of spending money for space exploration. Pictures from space like this one are neat, but are they really a billion dollars worth of neatness? Is seeing a distant planet barf into space going to teach us something about survival on our own planet? If we really want to get something useful out of space exploration, we should find a way to blast Maryland (and maybe Delaware) into orbit.

    Happy Birthday Mike Schoen!

    Don't forget, today is 12 of 12!

    Pentagon sought to build a gay bomb
    Butts charged with stealing toilet paper
    Captchas are too hard

    tagged as newsday | permalink | 0 comments

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:22 AM: "Oh hai. Breakfast time."

    5:43 AM: Freshly shaven and out of the shower.

    5:55 AM: It's much more pleasant to go to work when the sun is already up.

    6:12 AM: The rising sun out my window.

    8:02 AM: Working hard.

    11:55 AM: On the way home, passing a storm-damaged tree in Herndon.

    12:22 PM: I was going to recreate the ham sandwich eating picture from my first 12 of 12 ever, but got too excited and ate it first.

    12:45 PM: Telecommuting from my lovely home office.

    2:00 PM: Playing my trumpet, wondering if the will to practice will fade out in two weeks like it does every other year.

    4:32 PM: Looking for something to cook for dinner. We finally ditched the cookbook under the "too much effort" category and went with burgers.

    5:54 PM: Making Worcestershire burgers with cilantro, although the lack of fresh cilantro in the store made us use a tubed variety that comes out looking like cat poop.

    6:58 PM: Wine and grilling on the back porch.

    See more 12 of 12ers at Chad's site !

    Postal service sending underage chicks across state lines
    Judge in obscenity trial keeps a racy website
    Marijuana potency will give you a 30-year high

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 5 comments

    Friday, June 12, 2009

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    6:06 AM: Cats don't understand that humans need space for their feet.

    6:18 AM: Clean and ready for work.

    6:44 AM: Sitting at a light that takes five minutes to change, I figured I might as well do some nature photography.

    6:46 AM: The rising sun over Reston, jewel of northern Virginia.

    7:01 AM: Last weekend, I moved into a new office at work. Although it's a cozy little single, the view leaves something to be desired.

    7:28 AM: My plant loves the ample lighting though.

    11:32 AM: With hours to burn, I took off work early and went to Costco to pick up my new glasses and buy groceries. Here is a sign by their loading dock, signifying driver fail.

    12:23 AM: Trying on my new glasses (left), which are majorly different from the previous pair (right). I have three sets, which should last me for at least three years.

    12:45 PM: Totino's Pizza with extra pepperoni for lunch.

    3:23 PM: Watching the last season of Prison Break with Amber.

    7:46 PM: Enjoying the late summer sunshine with a walk through the neighbourhood.

    8:17 PM: Time for sushi!

    See more 12 of 12ers at Chad's site.

    Teen diagnoses her own disease in science class
    Man toupee for revealing bald truth
    Family Christmas photo turns up in Prague

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 12 comments

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    6:14 AM: Showered and shaved.

    6:26 AM: Apparently there's actually a night shift cop assigned to county registration violations, sneaking through the neighbourhood at 11:30 PM. Sadly for him, I have sixty days to register new cars and the decal in hand.

    6:41 AM: All of that traffic stimulus money just got us a bunch of milled, unpaved highways and this deluxe recessed crosswalk at an intersection where I've never seen a wheelchair.

    8:00 AM: Working in the office.

    11:32 AM: Gloomy Popeyes run.

    11:55 PM: Lunch and the news.

    12:15 PM: This rainstorm wasn't in the forecast last night when I sprayed the entire yard for mosquitoes.

    12:27 PM: Working from the home office.

    3:45 PM: Rebecca books tickets to yoga camp in Montreal. Booty reserves a spot at Titan's house.

    4:31 PM: Treadmill time.

    5:52 PM: Diablo time.

    8:20 PM: Dinner is a chicken-bacon-alfredo pizza with a crispy crust.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 6 comments

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:31 AM: Getting ready for work.

    5:39 AM: The house across the street from us is still for sale if anyone wants us as neighbours.

    5:45 AM: Stopped at a light, listening to "Kansas - Journey".

    5:53 AM: First person in for the day.

    7:26 AM: Working.

    11:41 AM: Gathering the necessary supplies to weather tomorrow's derecho.

    11:58 AM: Lunch.

    12:28 PM: Back to work, with an executive assistant.

    2:14 PM: Time for a pre-derecho-mow.

    5:00 PM: Prepping some chicken for fajita night.

    8:14 PM: Enjoying the summertime on the porch.

    9:02 PM: TV time.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 3 comments

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:09 AM: Getting ready for work.
    5:31 AM: First at work.
    5:35 AM: Outside of my office.
    7:58 AM: Working.
    11:47 AM: Home from Wegmans with essential groceries.
    12:10 PM: Leftover Asian fusion pork chop for lunch.
    12:27 PM: Back to work for a few more hours.
    1:32 PM: Lunch time for cats (mixed grill wet food with a bowl of water).
    2:41 PM: Exercise time with West Wing.
    3:30 PM: More computer time.
    8:08 PM: Sushi Night.
    9:00 PM: Family TV time on the couch.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments

    Friday, June 12, 2015

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:12 AM: Ready for work.
    5:31 AM: Arriving at the office.
    5:50 AM: Dawn over Reston.
    9:36 AM: Every other Friday is free cream cheese day.
    12:31 PM: Returning home to shed demolition.
    1:34 PM: Lunchtime for cats.
    2:11 PM: Lunchtime for humans, with a leftover sub from O'Faolains.
    2:53 PM: Back to work on proposals.
    4:00 PM: A quick Cat nap.
    4:45 PM: Showing Booty how to move with the mouse.
    6:38 PM: Shells and cheese for dinner.
    7:24 PM: No shells for Booty.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 4 comments

    Monday, June 12, 2017

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:45 AM: Ready for work.
    6:08 AM: These Jimmy Dean crescent roll breakfast sandwiches are pretty good, and also filling. The English muffin versions taste like a hockey puck.
    3:03 PM: Driving home from work in 94 degree heat.
    3:12 PM: Our new fig tree has not yet died or been stepped on.
    3:16 PM: Late lunchtime for cats.
    3:19 PM: Our nursery in progress, to make up for the lack of action pictures so far today.
    3:27 PM: Afternoon bagel and the "newspaper".
    4:15 PM: Losing a bunch of games in Overwatch.
    6:00 PM: Running on the treadmill and watching The 100. I love that the caption in this scene is so matter-of-fact. "LOOK, WE'RE CAUGHT IN THE RAIN, AND IT BURNS."
    6:52 PM: Evening naps are acceptable for pregnant ladies.
    8:02 PM: Making pumpkin ravioli with butternut squash sauce.
    8:46 PM: Our new "Monday Night Dinner" tradition has now lasted for 2 whole Mondays.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, June 12, 2019

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

    4:57 AM: Showered and ready for work.
    5:41 AM: Sunrise in the office.
    8:09 AM: Writing about THE CLOUD.
    11:33 AM: Safeway wings for lunch.
    12:42 PM: Freshly mowed grass, the mortal enemy of interesting jigsaw puzzles and JPEG compression.
    1:13 PM: Instilling new luxury into Maia's bath and shower routine.
    1:36 PM: Maia is home from the park.
    3:33 PM: Watching the last season of 12 Monkeys during nap time.
    4:26 PM: Learning about shadows from Grandma.
    4:44 PM: Trying on a new dress.
    5:04 PM: Helping Grandpa fix the sidewalk.
    7:19 PM: Swiss and mushroom burgers for dinner.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

    Friday, June 12, 2020

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

    6:44 AM: Ready to travel in a contiguous unidirectional line through Giant on Day 92.
    7:34 AM: Showered and ready for work.
    7:59 AM: Arrived in the office.
    8:31 AM: Release day.
    9:52 AM: Maia got up late today. Also, she was a piggy when she went to bed and is now a bear.
    11:39 AM: Working lunch.
    12:58 PM: Running and watching the fourth season of The Expanse.
    1:32 PM: Home from curbside pickup at the Sterling Library.
    4:07 PM: Time to get up from "quiet time"! Note the next costume change.
    5:11 PM: Basement olympics.
    5:58 PM: Chinese food for dinner in the shade of our new sunset blinds.
    7:00 PM: First sortie of the summer against the mosquitoes that suddenly birthed after yesterday's storms.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, June 12, 2023

    Easy Photos Day

    Meeting up with the Ahlbin clan at Rady Park in Warrenton.

    Maia's first, brief hot tub experience at our rental in Delaplane.

    Dressed up in the depths of Amissville for a retirement party.

    The final resting place for the Novetta broccoli logo -- the side of a sheep barn.

    Discovering ants in the Children's Discovery Zone at Sky Meadows State Park.

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

    Wednesday, June 12, 2024

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

    5:39 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
    6:36 AM: Showered and ready for work, after a Beat Saber workout.
    6:56 AM: Prepped for Beach Day at school with extra sunglasses.
    10:59 AM: Heading home from the office after the very important meeting.
    11:34 AM: Safeway stop for essentials.
    12:03 PM: The healthiest lunch options, including but not limited to Totino's.
    3:45 PM: Excited to spend a couple nights at the grandparents'.
    4:01 PM: Our fig tree is out of control.
    4:25 PM: Ready for gymnastics class.
    4:46 PM: Winding down with Diablo 4.
    5:17 PM: Dinner with the abbreviated family.
    6:40 PM: Lunging at the camera.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 0 comments


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