Archive for September 26th, 2011

Terra Nova: Close, but no cigar

Tonight, the most expensive series of all time debuted on TV: Spielberg’s “Terra Nova“. The 2-hour pilot had time travel, action, mystery, and lots of dinosaurs. You can’t go wrong with that recipe. Or can you?

The series starts in year 2145, where pollution is so bad that when a natural time rift appears that leads to 85 million years in the past, many humans take it and they build Terra Nova, a high-tech settlement. The story follows ex-cop Jim Shannon and his family, and how they adjust on that new place. The show has good dinos, bad dinos, a faction of humans fighting the main settlement, some… mysterious mystery about something we yet don’t know anything about, some family & teenage drama, car action, and lots of guns.

The CGI were good, but not feature-film-good. Dinos didn’t look that realistic. Let’s say that they were as good as a Hollywood film of 2005 would have featured. At least for some shots I feel that “Stargate:Universe” had better CGI than “Terra Nova”. The scene with Shannon and Taylor up in the hill was so painfully visibly green screen for example. Color grading was pretty good though, following the “teal” Hollywood look model.

Camera work was ok too, but editing was painful. The way Taylor was introduced for example was very pedestrian, it removed all the mystery and importance of that character. I mean, you introduce the #2 of the series and you start by having the camera that far away from the actor while he starts talking? Why not start with a close up shot where his face looks like an enigma? Why spell everything out? Why portray him as some guy in the back who says some stuff?

And why not start the series directly with the prison scene, and then unveil the story little by little, instead of spelling out to us how it all went down? And the scene with the orange, was laughable and badly written too. There was so much potential there to have the kids STEAL the orange and show what kind of character such living conditions would create, rather than having a nice happy family smiling and comment like “oh, I haven’t seen one of these for so many years”. So freaking pedestrian. So patronizing!

And that’s the Achilles heel of the show: it’s a FOX family drama in its heart. A very expensive FOX family drama. But a FOX family drama nonetheless. The show allows itself no grittiness, no edginess, no LOST-like heart pumping. Its secondary characters have no personality at all, the whole adjustment period was hurried up, while the family relations are something we’ve seen before over and over again. Just like ABC’s “No ordinary family” show last year, this American supposedly-dysfunctional perfect-family stereotype makes me wanna throw up. Why not have the kid be a drug user? Why not have the wife cheat on her husband while he was in prison? With a woman.

Compared to cable dramas (e.g. the excellent “Breaking Bad”, “Game of Thrones”), this is an old style show. Sure, it’s pretty serialized (otherwise it would have been completely worthless), and it’s impressive to look at. But it doesn’t go the extra mile to prove itself as a work of modern art. If the show was debuting in the late ’80s (before the TV spring of “Twin Peaks”), even if it used puppets instead of CGI, it would have been a huge hit. But in year 2011, if a show is not edgy on all levels, it’s not exactly worthy material.

Having said that, we have to compare “Terra Nova” with its fellow TV series on syndicated TV. Syndicated TV plays with different FCC rules that cable TV does, and so some things end up being different than how the writers might originally wanted them to be. So compared to the rest of the shows currently on syndicated TV, and I suspect compared to all the new ones too this TV season, “Terra Nova” is probably the best of them. It’s still fun, watchable and impressive. And it’s the only new sci-fi series in this TV season that it’s not completely drama/cop show with only a bit of touch of sci-fi. So, respect to Spielberg for bringing the series to TV. I just wish it was on cable (even if myself I’m not a subscriber anymore).

How we all live a lie

I’ve spent 10+ years with IBS-D, and when I finally managed to kick it away 3 weeks ago, I’m still surprised about how something so simple as a diet change is not prescribed by doctors by default. Very few doctors and nutritionists so far align themselves with some form of the Original Human Diet (e.g. Paleo, Primal, GAPs, SCD etc). And yet, there are thousands, maybe millions so far, who have had their auto-immune & inflammatory disease under control, or even healed, using these diets. So why isn’t modern medicine more open on the actual explanation as to why modern diet is so bad? That is, when lectins, gluten and bacteria inflame the gut, make holes on it, and toxins/feces enter the bloodstream. Then, the whole body goes haywire and the most weird illnesses appear. Illnesses and allergies that didn’t happen, or were very rare in the pre-Agrarian era.

But let’s go back to IBS.

We have to ask ourselves, except humans, are there any other animals that have IBS? And the answer is “yes”. Domesticated cats & dogs. The illness does not appear on their wild counterparts! IBS appeared in large numbers in the human population in the last 50 years only (before that time it was more rare), while pets started having IBS about 20-25 years ago. What’s the only thing that changed in the last 50 years for us, and 25 years for pets?

Enter FOOD. Food that contained more and more grains in various shapes and sizes, and more and more sugar. Pet food originally was mostly meat, but in the last 25 years, vegetables and flour appears on your pet’s cans. When was the last time you saw wolves grinding flour out of wheat in the wild? Feed these animals their natural diet (pieces of bones, and real meat), and you will see their symptoms reversed in the vast majority of cases.

So all what humans have to do, is simply go back to their original diet: veggies, meat, fish, eggs, fruits, and a bit of nuts & honey. Maybe some lactose-free goat cheese/yogurt IF they can tolerate it (cow dairy is even less tolerable).

The idea is so simple, and it makes so much sense. And yet, I spend 10 years trying to find the magic pill, trying to understand why this was happening to me. I was thinking along the “common wisdom”, that some of these “unexplainable” and “incurable” auto-immune/inflammatory diseases are just mysteries of nature that some day medicine & science might provide answers. I was thinking that I was simply unlucky for having gotten IBS. Maybe it was stress, as my doctors said, or maybe it was some old food poisoning that kicked it in.

NONSENSE.

I was daily abusing my body with grains and sugar (like 99.9% of you who read this). I was eating unnatural foods, foods that the human stomach does not have the right enzymes to break down. We are not hens. We are not pigs. We evolved to eat specific kinds of foods. Not the addictive grains or the even more addictive sugars. These are products of civilization, products created to be able to sustain unnaturally large numbers of population. But at what cost? Today, almost 50% of Americans have one of these “mystery diseases”! And the other half are on their way to get them later in their life. 97% of us are undiagnosed celiacs up to a degree! So, ditch the damn things. Do the work now, so you won’t regret it afterwards.

As for the medical & political world not seeing any correlation between “diseases of civilization” and grains/sugar, this would be one of the few times that I will have to sound like a conspirator. I do think that they know all they need to know about grains & sugar, but Big Pharma likes people to be sick, and politicians want citizens with a full belly. A full stomach always makes an obedient citizen, while a hungry one is nothing but trouble (since there are no resources for everyone to follow the Paleo diet — at least not for cheap).

Romans did exactly the same btw. In order to keep their population from revolting, they were feeding them with free-of-charge wheat products, and why not, kill a few people in the arena too, just for the fun of the masses. So tonight, go sit in front of TV, and enjoy your cheap drug: pasta, rice, bread… Top it all with a slice of chocolate cake. Oh, have a beer on me too.