May 16, 2007


I am once again sitting in a service area on the New York State Thruway. This service area of choice is called Scottsville and is in the Rochester area. Earl is out of town on business in Knoxville, Tennessee, hence my little road trip today. I just got off the phone with him and wished him sweet dreams. He was concerned about my driving home this late (I still have over two hours to drive and it’s currently 10:45 p.m.) He forgets that I love driving at night.

I spent the day driving to the southwestern most part of New York State and explored around the city of Jamestown. Once upon a time I lived there. I actually had two appearances in Jamestown, 1987-1988 and 1990-1991. I’ve taken Earl there a couple of times since. Today I spent quite a bit of time there looking around and reminiscing.

I find Jamestown to be an interesting city. First and foremost it’s the hometown of Lucille Ball. You can not look in any direction in the downtown area without seeing an image of Lucy on a billboard or a poster or on a building. It’s also home to Natalie Merchant and the 10,000 Maniacs, and her music is still quite prevalent on the local station, SE 93.

The area around Jamestown is also very scenic. Rolling hills lead the way to Chautauqua Lake. While Chautauqua Lake is similarly sized, it doesn’t really fit in with the neighboring Finger Lakes of Upstate New York. It sort of does it’s own thing. Wineries dot the shoreline of nearby Lake Erie. Old villages such as Fredonia and Falconer still have active, vibrant downtown areas. It’s hard to describe, but I feel very comfortable in the terrain and vibe of Chautauqua County. While hilly, it still feels expansive. In the Mohawk Valley, where we live now, it’s hilly but it feels very closed in to me. I never feel completely settled in the Mohawk Valley. The pace in Jamestown is a little more relaxed and the natives are decidedly friendlier. I think it’s because that corner of The Empire State is knocking on the Midwest’s front door, and I’ve always been a fan of the Midwest.

As I drove around Jamestown and Chautauqua County today, I realized that when I had lived there I never really allowed myself to enjoy the experience. I was part of a relationship that wasn’t going very well. He had grown up in the area and was constantly looking for a way out. I didn’t allow myself to like that area simply because I was always being shown the negative aspects to living there. “It snows.” “There’s no ocean.” “It’s not progressive.”

Looking back at myself almost 20 years ago, I guess I’ve since learned that life is what you make of it. While I believe that we have a basic idea of what we’re going to do when we come into this life (via reincarnation), I fully believe that you make your own paradise or you make your own hell. My ex was choosing his own hell and trying to pull me into it. (By the way, he deserted the area long ago and lives somewhere on the ocean in California. I hope he’s happy. I don’t need to confirm if he is or not. I don’t really care.)

Today I saw the area in a whole new light and I really liked what I saw. It felt good. I felt like my smiles and warm feelings chased away the negativity I had 20 years ago. While stopped for supper, I cheered on the Buffalo Sabres right along with the rest of the crowd. (Jamestown is about 80 miles from Buffalo.) I really like the sports fan pride that’s so obvious as you drive around. We don’t have that at home. I told Earl I was going to start cheering on Buffalo for all sports and he told me “not football.” I told him, “we’ll see” (Earl is an Eagles fan).

So now I’m getting back on the Thruway, totally sugared up with a couple of donuts from Tim Hortons (thank the Universe they have Tim Hortons out here!) and ready to rock the road.

Reimagine This.

The more I think about this reimagining of “Bionic Woman” coming to NBC this fall, the angrier I get. I know that there are much more pressing issues going on in the world today, but I am really angry about this latest reimagining of a classic television series. I’m not just angry, I am “they canceled Judging Amy” angry.

I understand and accept the fact that I am no longer part of the coveted 18-34 demographic that controls much of what we see on various media outlets. At nearly 39 years old, my vote and money no longer matter. I’m no longer hip, I’m no longer “cool” in the eyes of the Hollywood pocketbooks. I accept that.

I also accept the fact that Hollywood has apparently “gone dry” on ideas and imagination and now the best they can do is rehash something that was once good. However, apparently it wasn’t good enough though because they can make it better. I am still terrified to see what they’re going to do to “Bell, Book and Candle”, originally starting James Stewart and Kim Novak (among a bunch of other greats) in the late 1950s and now being “reimagined” for Alicia Keys in the starring role.

This new “Bionic Woman” is the latest casualty in a long line of Hollywood WTFs. I don’t have a problem with the fact that they’re creating a new bionic series. NBC has a hit in “Heroes” and they’re naturally going to play that to the hilt and add sci-fi shows all over the place. They’ve apparently never heard the phrase “Too much of a good thing.”

However, If the online sneak peeks are any indication, the producers are going much darker and more violent in this new series. I guess that’s to be expected, considering all the violence and such we see all over television these days. Plus, they need to keep up with the times, and the world is certainly a darker place today.

Here’s what I have a problem with: the character is named Jaime Sommers. And that’s the only thing that’s similar to the original “The Bionic Woman”. Lindsay Wagner won an Emmy for her portrayal of Jaime. She created a likeable character that is a permanent part of classic television. NBC is simply riding the coattails of the success of the original (no confidence in the new concept?), and Lindsay’s hard work, by naming the character Jaime Sommers. Since this new show is a decidedly different show, there’s no reason to name the character the same as the original. They should ADD to the “Bionic Universe”, not start it over from scratch. Acknowledge what has been by creating their own character with her own quirks and personality. As it currently stands, they’re basically slapping fans of the original version across the face and saying “Your version sucked, so it needs to be forgotten. Ours is better. *This* is Jaime Sommers.”

So I am boycotting the new “Bionic Woman” until they change the name of the main character. They can name her anything else. Just don’t call her “Jaime Sommers”. Oh, and I’m going to be really loud (but not tedious in the blog) about the fact that I am boycotting this show.

Oh, I have one other demand. They’ve got to bring back the bionics sound effect.