Welcome! (I guess...)

For those of you who by some extremely unlikely set of circumstances happened to stumble upon this page, I apologize to you. For those of you who intentionally came to this page - yikes! As the title of the weblog indicates, these are my Ramblings About Whatever. There is a chance that I will ramble about just about anything (as I am in this introduction), but only a select few topics will actually make this site. Enjoy! (I guess...)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Heroes: Season 3, Episode 6: Dying of the Light

So I just wanted to say a few words about last week's Heroes episode, Dying of the Light, before tonight's episode premieres. As I had stated in another post, I thought that this episode was excellent. At first I couldn't quite figure out how the group of "bad" heroes (to the extent that such can be definitively stated at this point) was going to be able to compete with the "good" heroes, if the good heroes could keep both Peter and Sylar on their side. Well, now we know.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say Arthur Petrelli and his Pinehurst crew are the villains here. This obviously makes Arthur extraordinarily dangerous at this point since he stole Peter's powers with his vampiric power absorption ability. This makes things rather interesting as Peter seems to be completely powerless at the end of the episode. However, is this really the case?

As best as could be seen, Peter only tried to use one of his former powers after hugging his father. Now, as I have stated before, the precise natures of some of these powers are somewhat vague - for example, the Haitian's power inhibition ability and Daphne's ability to move even though Hiro froze time. Many of these powers certainly have been shown to have limits. This is what makes Arthur's ability so interesting. What are its limits?

What is clear about Arthur's vampiric ability is that it, as opposed to Peter's power mimicry ability, has to be an active ability. The reasoning for this is that had it been passive, there would have been no way Arthur could have taken Peter's powers. And the reason for this is that before Arthur and Peter hugged, Peter had already acquired Arthur's power, and if it were a passive power, their contact would have (or it seems logical that it should have) completely negated the power transfer.

Now going back to the questions that I posed earlier, I think that there is definitely a loophole left by which Peter can regain his powers. (And it seems as if at some point Peter has to regain his powers since he and Sylar are probably the main stars of the show.) My guess is that perhaps Arthur's power is limited in that he can only steal powers that he doesn't have. This would mean that Peter would retain the powers that Arthur had already demonstrated prior to the embrace (namely, cellular regeneration, power absorption, and telepathy). This would perhaps be the best way that Peter could plausibly regain his powers. Obviously this is all just speculation, but there is one more question that I have about Arthur's ability that cannot yet be answered. Does Arthur have the ability to transfer powers he has absorbed to other people?

A few other notes:
  • I can understand now why in her dream Angela Petrelli heard Arthur say that she would not be able to move. This is because Arthur is likely planning on taking Eric Doyle's puppet master ability. Eric Doyle should be eliminated not solely to prevent this from happening, but also, and primarily, because he is extremely creepy.
  • At this point I cannot figure out just what Mohinder is doing in acquiring all of these other people. Is he planning on studying them to find a clue about abilities? Is he planning on eating them? That's it; Mohinder is the dumbest character on this show. In truth, Matt Parkman literally has considerably less intellect than Mohinder, but we don't expect Parkman to do intelligent things. Mohinder is (was) a genetics professor and so we should expect more out of him than the colossally stupid things he has done this season.
  • Angela Petrelli should have allowed Sylar (or Gabriel) to slice open Peter's head and acquire Peter's ability. I'm sure she doesn't want to see her sons battle it out, but at the point after Peter attacked her she should have realized that Peter was a loose cannon and Gabriel (no, I don't think that I'm going to call him Sylar anymore at this point) was the one that could be counted on. Gabriel would have been much better prepared for the confrontation with Arthur, and likely would have singlehandedly wiped out all Arthur's assembled crew.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Opening the Vault: Sleeping Beauty

I just saw the other day (October 7th to be exact) that the Magical World of Disney has been so kind to open up the Disney Vault and bestow upon us unworthy consumers for a limited time only on DVD, and for the first time ever on Blu-ray, the 1959 animated motion picture, Sleeping Beauty! (See for yourself.)

This is a tremendous event! There is a very high likelihood that I will go out and buy this movie because the economy is doing great and thus I have so much money to waste, and also, this movie reminds me of the terrible anger and rage that I possessed as a youth. Now please, if you will, journey back with me to my childhood as I tell you my story of Sleeping Beauty...

So I always felt a special connection to the movie Sleeping Beauty as I was born precisely nineteen years to the day after it was originally released. And I have known this fact all of about five minutes, five minutes ago being when I looked at the Sleeping Beauty Wikipedia site.

Now I don't want to bore you with the entire synopsis of this - okay, actually I do want to bore you with the entire synopsis of the movie. It's just that I don't want to take the time to type out the entire synopsis and so I'll just list a few key observations that I have from the movie, all culminating with the source of my anger and rage about the film.

  • Not inviting Maleficent to the introduction ceremony for Aurora was a horrible mistake. I know, I know, you're going to say that this is hindsight, but you have to admit that this was incredibly foolish. Why would you invite three fairies who conveyed absolutely useless gifts upon the princess and not invite a far more powerful sorceress? And don't argue with me about whether or not the fairies' gifts were useless. The only fairy's gift that could possibly be considered useful was Merryweather's and that one was only useful because the kings and queens had forgotten to invite (or snubbed) Maleficent in the first place. Flora's gift (beauty) and Fauna's gift (song) were useless because Aurora was a princess who was betrothed to Prince Phillip so it did not matter if she was repulsively ugly or sang like a banshee, she was still going to be able to get married. And it didn't matter how hot Aurora was, Phillip was a prince and he would one day be a king, and so he was going to cheat on Aurora anyway.

  • King Stefan and his queen (Aurora's parents) are hideously ugly and sound like hyenas. This fact cannot be debated. There is a reason, after all, that the king and queen invited these fairies to bestow these gifts upon Aurora. The king and queen were possibly deformed, and I'm going to suggest that there might have even been some inbreeding, like with the Habsburgs. Yep, King Stefan and his queen were actually brother and sister. Disgusting.

  • Maleficent has to take some responsibility herself for her servants having not found Aurora after sixteen years. I remember the scene well when one of the servants tells her that they had searched every cradle for Aurora. First Maleficent laughed and then she snapped at these servants calling them, I believe, "fools, idiots, imbeciles!" Now, I'm not going to debate whether or not Maleficent's servants are fools, idiots, or imbeciles, because they certainly are all of these. However, it gets kind of tiring to see an arch-villain trust one or more of her/his lackeys to accomplish some feat when the villain knows full well that these lackeys are clearly too incompetent to complete the task. And after having had these servants around for at least sixteen years, wouldn't you have thought that Maleficent would have figured out that they were idiots at some point in more than a decade and a half? Sorry Maleficent, you have to take some blame for this one.

But this is starting to drag on and I haven't even begun explain my rage. Now at some point as I was growing up as a child, the color red became my de facto favorite color. I'm not certain at this point whether this was something of my choosing or whether my parents essentially just kept telling me that red was my preferred color when such was not really true (which is not something that I would put past my parents considering that among other things they had me believing in leprechauns for many years). The bottom line is that I came to accept that red was my favorite color and I even made my choice of what university to attend based solely on this one criterion.

Now this applies to Sleeping Beauty because one of the important scenes in the movie is when Flora and Merryweather get into a tiff over what color Aurora's (or Briar Rose, as the fairies call her) dress should be. Flora opts for pink, the color that she always wears, while Merryweather desires that the dress be blue, her preferred color. The two have a duel of sorts, using their magic wands to paint the dress each of these colors, alternating back and forth. As the fairies hear Aurora returning, the dress is a splattered mess of pink and blue, and in the final stroke, Merryweather is able to turn the dress completely blue.

Okay, so I know that pink is not red, but pink does have red in it and in that little battle between the fairies, I certainly came down on the side of Flora. So needless to say, I had rather a sour mood for most of the remainder of that movie. However, as the movie came to a conclusion, with the Princess Aurora and Prince Philip beginning to live happily ever after, Flora suddenly realized that the dress was blue. And thus began a second war between the fairies over the color of the dress.

I must say, though, my spirits lifted, for as the book closed on the story, the last glimpse I could get of the newly married princess and prince dancing the night away showed Aurora wearing a pink dress. To me that said, "Sorry, book closed, pink dress. You may have won for an hour or so, blue dress, but once the book was closed, the dress was pink, meaning that the dress would have to stay pink until the next time we could see the dress as blue. Victory!" (And yes, I am only very slightly exaggerating all of this.)

So what is troubling me about this now? I suppose I have some lingering doubt as to whether or not that dress really was pink at the final instant when that book was closed. And I'm thinking, we have this new technology that wasn't around in the 1980s; we have DVDs, we have high definition Blu-ray technology! So I'm thinking, what if by virtue of this new high definition technology it is determined that the dress was blue as the book closed?

So of course there is only one course of action; I must buy the Blu-ray version of Sleeping Beauty and analyze it meticulously. There are two ways this story can end. The first way this story ends is that after watching the movie, I see that, after slow-motion (high definition) viewing of the final scene of the movie, the dress is actually pink and I take the movie out of the player, put it back in its special edition case, and never watch it again. The second way this story ends is I watch the final scene and see that the dress is blue, I take it out of the player and burn it. And then after this I go from store to store destroying every copy of the DVD that I can get my hands on, and then finally, I break into the Disney Vault and destroy the original version of Sleeping Beauty.

Either way, I'll live happily ever after...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heroes: The Sylar Mystery

Eventually I'll get to some more extensive thoughts on the Heroes episode Dying of the Light, which in short I thought was another great episode (except for the Matt Parkman storyline - he's starting to annoy me perhaps more than Mohinder), but I wanted to touch on an entirely different subject. It's the mystery of Sylar, or Gabriel Petrelli, as it makes sense now that this is who Sylar is.

The mysterious thing about him that occurred to me yesterday is, in accepting that he is truly a full brother to Peter and Nathan, then when was he born? Nathan is older than Peter, and he appears to be substantially older. But Gabriel seems to be much, much closer to Peter's age than to Nathan's. There seems to be a substantial enough age difference between Nathan and Peter that Nathan would have to have remembered when Peter was born. I mean, I remember when my sister was born and I was only about four and a half then. The age difference between Nathan and Peter in the show seems to be at least a few years greater than four and a half years.

Angela Petrelli has stated that Gabriel was given up for adoption, and so I can only conclude that given that Nathan does not remember Gabriel and at least there has never been an acknowledgement on his part that he remembers his mother being pregnant other than with Peter (of course the show has never had to touch on this so the explanation could be that Nathan knew that his mother was pregnant with another child but the child died at birth), Peter and Gabriel must be fraternal twins. I guess this could kind of make sense in their each having the ability to take others' powers, albeit in different ways. And it would explain how Nathan would be none the wiser when it comes to his other brother. Of course this would imply that Gabriel was given up for adoption immediately upon birth and one would be left to question why.

There is of course the sort of "cheating" explanation that exists that the Petrellis used the Haitian to erase Nathan's (and perhaps Peter's) memory of Gabriel being born, but I would hope that this sort of easy explanation is not the one the show is going to use.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heroes: The Death of Future Peter and the Haitian's Power

Okay so in my previous post about Heroes I mentioned a couple of things that just do not make a whole lot of sense. What is clear from watching the show is that some of the powers that the characters have are active while some are passive. For example, Nathan Petrelli in just about every example of his use of his flying ability had to actively use it. (There was of course the initial time that he used it, when he seemingly unwittingly flew out of the car that he was driving, escaping an accident, but leaving his wife to suffer through it. However, at no other point in the show have they shown Nathan flying unless he has chosen to do so.) And as an example of passive powers there is Peter Petrelli's ability to absorb others' powers without attempting to do so and Claire Bennet's/Adam Monroe's ability (later acquired by Peter and Sylar) to heal their injuries. Essentially these abilities have always appeared to be passive.

Why am I bringing this up? I am bringing this up because the writers of Heroes have appeared to be somewhat sloppy with their handling of the Haitian's powers. The Haitian has the ability to inhibit another's use of his or her power and the ability to wipe away others' memories. Evidence from the show proves that the Haitian's powers are active. The part about erasing memories is easy; the Haitian has never demonstrated the ability to erase someone's memory unless trying to do so. (When the Haitian goes around casually from place to place you never see people spontaneously losing their memories.)

The evidence that the power inhibiting ability that he possesses is active is a bit more subtle. In the episode One of Us, One of Them Hiro and Daphne both find that they are unable to use their powers in the presence of the Haitian as the two search for a half of a formula that it turns out the Haitian possesses. Now, it seems somewhat difficult to believe that the Haitian knew that Hiro and Daphne were there and thus was actively using his power to suppress their powers. This would seem to suggest that the power is passive. However, the fact that Daphne was able to once again use her super speed after Hiro's friend Ando temporarily knocked the Haitian unconscious and then Hiro was unable to use his powers of time manipulation when the Haitian regained consciousness and confronted Hiro and Ando moments later suggests that this power inhibition is an active power. In addition, there have been at least three occasions shown in which the Haitian selectively allows individuals to use abilities while inhibiting the use by others: In Five Years Gone the Haitian prevented Hiro from using his time altering power while allowing Matt Parkman to use his telepathic abilities, and in Four Months Ago..., there were two occasions when Elle Bishop was able to use her electric powers in the presence of the Haitian while Peter was powerless.

It seems that based on the evidence, the Haitian's power is active. The only other possible explanation (to me at least) is that it is a passive power except that it "shuts off" when the Haitian is rendered unconscious. If the Haitian's power was passive, he would selectively choose when to disable his power to allow someone else to use his or her own power. This explanation seems almost absurd. It would be similar to way we breathe, with the mechanism being passive and with our ability to stop doing so when we choose. However, if we were to lose consciousness, our breathing would automatically resume since it is ultimately a passive ability.

What is the relevance of all of this? I'm glad you asked. The relevance of all of this is that Peter Petrelli should by now possess the Haitian's power based on their encounters. Unless the writers of the show would use the rationale that the Haitian's power have a greater range than Peter's power absorption ability then Peter should have instantly absorbed the Haitian's power the moment he was at close enough range. It is also my contention that just in observing how powers work on this program, however inconvenient for the storyline, Peter should be immune to the Haitian's power inhibiting ability. It seems to me that the Haitian's power should be similar to Hiro's time manipulating power in that if two people with that ability confront one another, neither can be affected by the other's power. I don't know why, it just feels like this is the way that the Haitian's power should work.

Now ignoring whether Peter has the Haitian's power or not for a second, I would like to address the fact that Future Peter died in I am Become Death. Now the explanation given for this Peter's death was that the Haitian was present to prevent him from regenerating and thus he ended up dying. However, in the episode The Second Coming, when Sylar takes Claire's power, he tells her that she cannot die, and now neither can he. If Claire's ability prevents her from dying and Sylar has taken this power rendering him unable to die and Peter absorbed the exact same power that Sylar took from Claire, how can Peter die? It makes absolutely no sense. It has already been demonstrated that the regenerative power that Claire has is passive, so unless the Haitian is going to babysit Peter's body for the rest of his life (and assuming that Peter is not immune to the Haitian's power - again, as you know, I think that Peter should be immune to this power), then eventually this Future Peter has to regenerate and come back to life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Heroes: Season 3, Episode 4: I Am Become Death

Sorry to all of my readers out there (the millions and millions of you) that I was unable to provide a review for last week's episode, but I was busy or something like that. I hardly remember what I might have been busy doing at this point, so it doesn't really matter. And since I don't even really remember what happened in that episode (Episode 3 titled One of Us, One of Them), I probably would not be able to give a very good review anyway, or at least a good review by my standards. What does matter is that I'm back with my review of I have Become Death.

I found this to be an excellent episode. This is not because it cleared up any of those troubling time travelling issues that I discussed in the review of the season premiere (honestly, I've given up on them ever truly resolving these problems), but because it provided more clarity of what is going on in that crazy, crazy world four years in the future. The first thing that was absolutely cleared up for me is that Mohinder Suresh is an idiot. This point can no longer be argued. Okay, so this is not some huge revelation.

However, Mohinder the Freak did prove himself useful as, after Scarred Future Peter Petrelli was apparently killed by Crazy Future Claire (this does not really make sense, but I'll get back to it later), Present Day Peter in the Future was able to visit Mohinder who instructed him on what he needed to do to perhaps prevent this future from coming to be: Peter had to find Sylar.

Sylar's ability is that he knows how things work. He knows how everything works. And by learning how to use Sylar's ability (Peter had of course been exposed to Sylar's ability in the first season, but had never explicitly used it), Peter believed that he might be able to determine how the ability-granting-formula worked and thereby find a way to reverse its effects. (Or at least I think that this was the theory that Peter and Mohinder, ahem, Mohinder the Freak, came up with.) And so Peter teleports to where Sylar resides and is in for a shock.

Peter discovers that Sylar is now going by his real name Gabriel, Sylar (or Gabriel) has a son, and Sylar is actually his own brother. Eventually Sylar realizes (by way of his son) that this Peter is the Peter of the past (or really the present, as we are viewing the show), and he does not know that Sylar is no longer "evil." So Peter tells Sylar that he must instruct him on how his power, intuitive aptitude (as it is called in some places), works. Sylar is reluctant to do so, realizing the danger that this represents for Peter, but Peter finally convinces him to do so after having Sylar paint the future.

Just as Peter finishes learning Sylar's power Claire, Daphne, and Knox arrive (it would take me too long to explain how they found Peter and Sylar - hint, Molly Walker), with Knox threatening to kill Sylar's son unless Peter submits to Claire, who plans to murder him. Peter uses super speed acquired from Daphne to knock Claire out before she can fire the gun, giving Sylar's son a chance to escape. Knox and Sylar confront one another and Sylar tells Knox that he is powerless since Sylar is not afraid of Knox. Knox replies that Sylar's son is the one who is afraid. Knox punches Sylar across the room and the resulting collision kills Sylar's son. Sylar flies into a rage and absolutely pummels Knox to death. Sylar then goes nuclear, exploding and destroying the city in which he resided.

Next we see Peter strapped to a table, unable to move while Claire paces about around him. It seems that Peter is unable to use any of his powers as the Haitian is there to block him from using them. (There is something about the Haitian's power that troubles me as well, and I might discuss it further at some other time.) Just as Claire is about to kill Peter (and again, based on what has been revealed in previous episodes, this should not be possible) when Peter's brother Nathan, the President, walks in and stops her. Claire and the Haitian walk out as Nathan releases Peter. After some discussion about Peter wanting to fix the disastrous state that he finds this world in, Peter eventually finds the hunger for power that had driven Sylar taking control of him. Peter telekinetically holds Nathan in place and then starts to slice open Nathan's skull. Before he can finish slicing the skull off, but it looks like perhaps after he has already killed Nathan, Peter stops and then teleports to his own time to Level 5 of Primatech where Sylar is being held and tells him to help him stop the hunger or something like that. And Sylar laughs or something and tells Peter that it is too late and that Peter is already like him.

Great episode, and I'm done with this post. It has gotten a bit long and so I'll discuss that other stuff that I said that I'd get back to in another post. If you have a problem with that, too bad.