Sunday, November 30, 2008


So I'm in the middle of reading the Brothers Karamazov. It's been such an interesting character/ideology study so far. I'm only about a third of the way through at this point, but this passage stood out to me for some reason. Smerdyakov, the old servant's son (or so we think) has begun to show his proud, insolent side, and Fyodor (the old, drunk buffoon father whom I'm assuming is going to eventually be whacked by one of his three very different, very complex sons) is definitely insulting him. The narrator describes Smerdyakov's tendency to become lost in thought:

"There is a remarkable picture by the painter Kramskoy, called "Contemplation." There is a forest in winter, and on a roadway through the forest, in absolute solitude, stands a peasant in a torn kaftan and bark shoes. He stands, as it were, lost in thought. Yet he is not thinking; he is "contemplating." If anyone touched him he would start and look at one as though awakening and bewildered. It's true he would come to himself immediately; but if he were asked what he had been thinking about, he would remember nothing. Yet probably he has hidden within himself, the impression which had dominated him during the period of contemplation. Those impressions are dear to him and no doubt he hoards them imperceptibly, and even unconsciously. How and why, of course, he does not know either. He may suddenly, after hoarding impressions for many years, abandon everything and go off to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage for his soul's salvation, or perhaps he will suddenly set fire to his native village, and perhaps do both. There are a good many "contemplatives" among the peasantry. Well, Smerdyakov was probably one of them, and probably was greedily hoarding up his impressions, hardly knowing why."

I don't know how crucial this passage is going to be in the grand scheme of the book, but I really liked this section for some reason.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dexter blog revived

After a long hiatus from blogging about anything Dexter-related, I am resuming.

To be honest, I had been more or less disappointed with Season 3 thus far. I should know by now that the whole structure of a Dexter season is about 66% plot set up and about 33% pay off. The problem is, with the previous seasons, the writers tossed us a bone or two much earlier in the season, rather than waiting until practically the last minute.

What I like most about this season, is that the past couple of episodes have been quite relevatory of Miguel Prado's true nature, forcing us, the viewers to shed whatever preconceptions or assumptions we had about Miguel. Now, we're forced to look back in hindsight and look at Miguel through a new set of lenses. I haven't wanted to go back and totally dissect and analyze an entire character arc since President Logan in Season 5 of 24. I want to see how the development of the character Prado has contributed to the plot set-up..

The season has gotten much more interesting as we delve further and further into the character of Miguel Prado. Up until this point, we've been led to believe that Miguel was a bit of an overzealous, self-proclaimed member of the Justice League, irked by the depravity of the system and justifiably ridding Miami of the scum of the earth. Now we realize more than ever how dark and twisted Miguel's true nature is.

One of the most interesting things about this season has been the disruption and apparent reinvention of Harry's code. Season 2 left us with the impression that Dexter, jaded by Harry's inability to handle the "monster he had created," would abandon the code in new ways.

1) He abandoned the code first--albeit inadvertently--in the first killing of Oscar Prado, the main impetus for Season 3's plot arc. He killed someone spontaneously without any assurance of guilt.
2) He intentionally abandoned his code yet again with the whole key lime pie incident with Camilla. Again, the ethical lines are blurred as the show tangles with question of euthanasia. Also, the episode turned me off to key lime entirely. And I wasn't a huge fan to begin with.
3) He breaks the code yet again by tag teaming with Miguel Prado.
4) Dexter seems to be ignoring the Skinner completely, which would seem to be the most natural choice of prey for Dexter.

I mentioned this in a previous Season 2 blog, but it seems that any time someone who comes along and at least partially recognizes Dexter for who he is: Brian, Lila and now Miguel, they are always at odds with Dexter's code in some way and Dexter inevitably ends up killing them. I see no other path for Miguel, other than this ending him in being Dextered.

Interestingly enough, I think this season more than any other season has explored--not so much the darkness (or Dark Passenger) within Dexter himself, but rather in those around him. Season 1 focused on Dexter the Monster and how he came to be. Season 2 focused on Dexter--still a Monster--but struggling for survival and learning to deal with the Dark Passenger. Season 3 has focused primarily on the corruption of the system, and how that begins in the monsters in the people around him, most obviously Miguel Prado. This season, more than any other season, I believe, has raised serious ethical questions on justification of murder, motive of the murderer and how the cause of justice becomes twisted to serve the Monster's own inner appetites.

Some interesting plot points/questions to consider:

1) At what point did Miguel become aware of Dexter's true nature? Was this immediately after Oscar Prado was killed? Or was it after he stumbled upon Dexter killing Freebo?
2) Has Miguel figured out that Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher? This seems reasonable to assume. His close relationship with LaGuerta may bring about some hidden connection Miguel may have with Doakes. Miguel may have known all along that Doakes was not the Bay Harbor Butcher.
3) Is there a deeper connection between the Skinner and Miguel? We are assuming at this juncture that the Skinner wants nothing more than to settle the score with Freebo. His chosen victims all have a link to Freebo. If Skinner finds out that Freebo is already dead, how would that change his motivation to kill?
4) Since it appears that Miguel has been manipulating Dexter all along, what is his end goal with Dexter? Of course, we are assuming that he wanted all along to learn the ropes from Dexter, but something tells me there is more to it than that.
5) What is the true line that separates Miguel from Dexter? Most obviously, the code separates them, but they seem to now be motivated by an insatiable need to kill. Miguel seems enthralled with the power trip it brings, while Dexter, it's an appetite that needs to be sated every now and then. Miguel is hotheaded, driven by personal agenda--seen best in his crusade against Ellen Wolf. Dexter never makes things personal. His victims are carefully, coolly chosen.
6) Why has Dexter not gone after the Skinner at all? He's been so distracted with Miguel this season, it never crossed his mind to hunt the Skinner down. Very odd. I wonder if that will change.
7) What did Miguel do when he was along with King? I wouldn't put it past him if he let King escape somehow so he could kill him himself.
8) LaGuerta is obviously going to become more important to the climax. How and to what end will Miguel manipulate her? I think it's safe to say he already has...
9) Where's my favorite crucial plot point music? Come on, writers...:(

So, although this season may not be the most quotable or thrilling, I have to give the writers major props for making it the most complex and interesting season in terms of ethical questions raised. The constant scenes with Harry, the juxtaposition of Dexter's nightly extracurricular activities with a wedding and baby on the way. Miguel and the Skinner playing the foil to Dexter. So many plot intricacies to consider...

Monday, November 10, 2008

My First 10K

Back from a long hiatus of uninspired blogging, I finally found something I believe is blog worthy...

I finished my first ever 10K on Sunday. Jeanne, Dana and I ran in the Florida Hospital 10K in Celebration. I had often attended these running events as a supporting friend or family member when my dad has run his marathons or Paige has run her half marathons.

This time, I attended as a runner, which was a huge accomplishment to me. If you told me 4 months ago I would be running a 10K, I would have laughed in your face. (And if you know me, you know that's true...;)

In preparation for this 10K, Jeanne and I had been following Hal Higdon's Novice 10K training program, although we modified it to suit our needs. For instance, I was not cool with following a training schedule that didn't even have me run 6 miles at ALL prior to the race, so we definitely incorporated that into the schedule. Also, the second to last week--supposedly the most rigorous week in which you're supposed to push yourself--I ran 6 miles on Sunday, 5 on Tuesday, then approximately 6 miles again in Seattle. Also, I know averaging 11 minute miles is really slow, but my main goal in running this was to simply run from start to finish without stopping. I think now that I've finished a 10K, if I ever do one again, I would work harder at improving my time.

I discovered a few things while training that last week.

-First of all, I LOVE running in the cold. When we had that cold snap in central Florida on Tuesday morning, I feel like I could run forever. That theory was further confirmed when we went running in Seattle. I don't know why, but I feel much better running in 50 degrees, or even upper 40s as opposed to upper 70s or lower 80s. That Sunday I ran with Jeanne, I had a ROUGH time, mostly because a) I'm not used to running around lots of cars and traffic b)The sun was beating down and there was no shade c) I was not familiar with the route. It's so interesting how so many factors play into whether or not you have a good run.

Running Seattle was by far the best experience for me. Jeanne and I ran a trail that runs next to the University of Washington campus. The first couple of miles were lovely, running on a trail with a canopy of yellow and red autumn leaves over us. Then the trail took us by the river and under some cool footbridges. The route was incredibly scenic and I had Death Cab for a Cutie's "Plans" to keep me pumping for nearly an hour. Good memories of running in Seattle:)

-Also, I discovered DURING the race that I actually can run and talk at the same time. Whenever Jeanne and I have run together, we both put on our iPod headphones and barely talk to each other, except for pointing out something funny every now and then. Also, Jeanne likes to run like Dwight from the Office occasionally, which always makes for good entertainment.

Dana joined us for the 10K, and she is a huge proponent of talking. I found that although it was difficult to sustain talking toward the end of the race, it made the first 3-4 miles incredibly enjoyable. I didn't need to use my headphones for the entire race. And now I have a new friend:)

-I was intrigued by the competitive speed walking which sounds as legit as Olympic curling, but I was further shamed when a few overzealous competitive speed walkers actually PASSED us, we who were running. So I stand corrected.

-I had hoped somebody would have shot a gun into the sky to start the race. That was my wish. Sadly, that did not happen.

-Also, I wore my lucky pants. They haven't failed me yet. See below:)

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Lure

How quickly I throw in the towel.

I confidently (arrogantly?)
cast my line
The lure lands lightly
Breaking up the placid water
Stirring the pool

But only ever so slightly.

Jerking the line around
I strive to anticipate your desire
The lure dances and glitters
Bobbing up and down
Flashing in the sunlight
So swift, so easy

So noncommital.

I keep my soul safely on shore
While this lure
This disembodied self
Swirls, leaps and tangos
Skimming across the surface
Drunk with my own beguiling

But, you,
Having none of it,
You plunge
and dart away in quite a hurry.

Cordially, though.
but too cordially.

So swiftly
So frenetically
That it can hardly be called a retreat.

Love, let me see you.

I'll show you me
If you show me you.

Last night, I dreamt
We dove into the river headlong
Plunging, delving
into the beautiful deep

you watched me heal you
And I watched you heal me.

But on this sundrenched day
we are disembodied selves
only acting out our fear and shame
In charms and lures and games

From opposite shorelines.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The story: This poem was born out of thoughts and conversation from atop the Space Needle on a beautiful Seattle evening.

I was hoping this would be a song, but for now the thoughts are a poem.

The idea for this started when I stepped out on the observation deck of the Space Needle and was greeted by a trio of musicians, playing violin and guitar, with no one around to listen but me. Their audience was the merely the city below.

Other conversations inspired this poem, but the image of those musicians silhouetted against the night sky, instruments in hand, with no one to hear them but the city below was just a beautiful picture to me.

We sat atop the world.

Glittering like a jewel in the evening
Full of possibilities of pain and pleasure
The stars found themselves mirrored
In the glimmer below

Or was it the other way around?

I heard violins and guitars
Strummed and plucked
For pleasure none but their own
And their gypsy tunes drift
Carefree and lustily
Like a fine, sweet smoke.

Despite their warmth, I shivered
And retreated inside behind glass doors
Where the view is less brilliant
But far more manageable.

A lone, fragile thread
Starting to unravel
As words unconsciously
Eased through the cracks
Of a contemplative heart
Belying the calm, pleasant facade.

A lovely contradiction, to be sure
In which notes resonated
with only the slightest discord

I heard your counterpoint
Rising and falling
In a broken double helix
Straining toward tension
Longing for release
Meeting in brief, rare moments of

Yet the harmony and beauty
Become enmeshed in the discord
In the disconnect
In the contradiction.

This rebellious fugue haunts me
And while it reverberates indoors
Upon these glass walls
There is no chance of dissipation

For I hear it gently ricochet
Against my spirit
Again and again

And I hear its source
And I become it
While it becomes me

And through the glass window
I hear strains of that gypsy melody
Play on and on outside
To serenade the shining city below
With its unfettered bohemian spirit

And I think to myself

Maybe I should invent a new genre.