Great Sayings – Jack Bauer, 24

Senator Blaine Mayer: You’re reprehensible, Bauer. Jack Bauer: And you, sir, are weak! Unwilling and unable to look evil in the eye and deal with it.

This was on Day 7 from 6-7 PM.  Sure it was just a TV program, but it shows that some need to stand up and fight the fight that others won’t in times of crisis.  Evil is a dark force that must be confronted.  This will challenge your inner convictions and take you to the fork in the road in life of right vs. wrong.  You will have to face your fears and conquer them first before you can vanquish the enemy.

Jack Bauer was the ultimate bad ass who wasn’t a comic book superhero

#24, #LiveAnotherDay and Why the Story Writing Matters

After eight seasons, 24 ended…or so we thought.  Maybe it was the cult following, perhaps it was the ad revenue potential, more than likely it was a lack of good copycat shows but most of all it was the quality of the script, storyline, premise and character interaction that made it come back.

Most “sequels”, movie adaptations of TV shows and re-creations of TV successes (especially in the 60’s and 70’s before reality TV) are rarely successful and/or entertaining.  Further,  Hollywood’s meddling based on their belief that they knew what the masses want rather than what the audience desires has delivered mindless drivel and repeat stories that were mostly re-hashing a previously successful (or profitable) series (namely 24).

On Monday the 5th, Fox is bringing back counter terrorist bad boy Jack Bauer and 24 for twelve episodes in Live Another Day.  Let me disclose that this genre is one if not my favorite to watch.  That being said, there have been many opportunities to watch knock offs, but they haven’t captured the essence of 24.  I attribute this to the writing, screenplay, conflict, reaching out to grip the audience’s emotional involvement and reality of what this show represents.  Specifically it is good vs. evil, but is complicated by the personal strife and loss and moral decisions suffered by the lead character in his quest.

The storyline is to save the day in 24 hours, a simple premise.  Numerous roadblocks get in the way many caused by the protagonist’s employer, not to mention having to decide which is the right path given limited information which must be sifted and decided on by experience and gut instinct.  Jack does his job to protect the world despite whatever collateral damage happens to anyone near him

Where the writers excel though is in the interaction between characters.  They frequently must choose to either go with Jack or against him based on orders they obey or disobey.  This incriminates them legally or emotionally and inhibits their ability to help the cause of dealing with the bad guys.

Some may have issues with the violence or the all to realistic depictions of interrogation.  From a micro point of view it can be intimidating, but from the macro level and overall storyline perspective it is as much a part of the story as any character would be.  It peels back the layers of a person who will go to any length to protect the greater public, or a specific person (usually a politician of high ranking) which revels in right vs. wrong decisions.  Jack has a crappy day and has to live through it.


It is a classical example of Ironist writing.  The last act climax is both positive and negative.  Jack always saves the day, yet he loses his family, relationships, job and other personal parts of his life.

Is Jack there to save or assassinate the president? That is what we will be led to be confused by when it starts.  Nevertheless, he is willing to risk his life and freedom to avert yet another global disaster.

So hats off to Evan Katz and Manny Coto who wrote and produced it.  Also Howard Gordon is the lead writer who worked on many other episodes and I admire his work.

Besides enjoying the good vs. evil in this years story, I will be closely watching how the writers build the tension, connect to the audience and develop the story to the last act climax.

 

The Waterproof Cell phone – NOT

My last moving detail was to bring over the fish tank, without killing any fish. This required having them be in a bucket of water for the trip between old and new house. I carefully placed it next to me to avoid any issues, and anticipating the call asking when I’d get home, I got out my cell phone.

I’m sure you can figure out the rest…one quick stop, and cell phone goes for a swim with the fish. Since there was crummy coverage where I live, I switched from Nextel to Sprint to finish out my contract. But I had the Jack Bauer, season 5/Habib Marwan season 4 special which is now a paperweight. Instead, I have a used basic phone to get me to the end of my contract without the extra charges they kill you with.

This is the second phone to take a swim for me, the other went into the bilge in my boat. It didn’t survive either. My son says they need to invent a phone that’s waterproof and Dadproof.

And now, a small diversion from analyst relations and technology. The trailer for Season Six of 24!

There are times that it is good to clear your head, just so you can focus.  I rarely get to watch TV anymore (not that it clears my head, but it does keep me from obsessing about work), but I’m a fan of 24.  So here is the link to season six of 24.

Most disapointing to me is that the whole business of the Chinese capturing and interrogating, torturing, umm politely questioning Jack will not be explored.  Way to wimp out.
I like this show because like life, there are good guys and bad guys, and we have to deal with situations that confront us.

24, The Movie

My favorite TV obsession show, 24 is now being slated for a movie.

This is either good or bad depending on how they do it of course.  The show is compelling because everything is compressed into an hour per episode, so we must assume/accept some things and read between the lines due to time.  Stretching it out allows for more travel between places, more detail (not always a good or interesting thing) and maybe we’ll finally get to see if Jack Bauer actually eats, sleeps or goes to the bathroom.

See the Jack Bauer kill counter by year here.

What I wonder is if it will go back into time where there were some really great characters and villains that would make for a gripping plot enhancement.  Remember the plot is good guys vs. terrorists trying to use weapons of mass destruction (so far we’ve had nukes, chemical weapons and deadly viruses).   President Palmer was great, Nina Myers was someone to really hate…..and so on.
Let’s not forget the pseudo 24 movie – The Sentinel staring Keifer Sutherland and Michael Douglas (I’m not linking to that loser) recently that made as big a splash as a small wave at Waimea Bay, Hawaii. (non surfers, it goes 20 feet high in the winter).

Most movies of TV shows are crappola, like more than half of the Star Trek movies, and I’m a major Trekkie.   Let’s hope for the best.

119 people died, and not one killed by Jack Bauer…

….on last night’s episode. 107 on a Russian went down to centox nerve gas (a hidden container not previously accounted for), one American officer on the same sub and 12 special forces agents.

Kill Counter

Next week is the 2 hour finale, and since the bad guys have 12 multiple warhead missles and are terrorists, Jack will have to save the world from wmd’s and terrorism in 120 minutes….

I’m betting on Jack. JUST DO IT….

Podcast's, Sturgeon's Law and the Nordschleife

When I first got my iPod, I thought I’d be listening to my favorite songs and knew that I’d be looking at video’s which I still do. What I didn’t realize was that I’d quickly get addicted to some podcasts.

Before I got it, I made some off the cuff remarks that I’d listen to the Tour de France updates on the plane and technology updates. The part about the Tour is true, when it comes up later this year. I tried listening to a few technology podcasts and quickly found that it was both a lot like being at work, and most of the quality was in the 90% of Sturgeon’s Law.

I quickly went to my old and new interests, those being racing and the show 24 and found lots of other stuff I follow like Karate. Three different Formula 1 podcasts and 2.5 24 podcasts (one is not consistent) and many others come through constantly for me.

Now to the point of this blog. I was listening to The Chequered Flag by BBC Five Live this morning in the gym, and there was an unbelievably good description by a journalist riding in a DTM Mercedes drive by current series leader Bernd Schneider, on one of the most famous stretches of road you can race on, the Nordschleife in Nuerburg Germany located in the Eifel mountains. nordschleife.gif

Tearing through the track at 200 mph, getting airborne, the tail of the car almost losing grip and incredible g-forces. I was jazzed, and this is what podcasting should do for you, get you involved and entertained. It’s worth a listen and it’s the podcast from 5/6/06 if you want to get it. It’ll make the hair on the back of your neck stick up and rip the tag off your shirt.
I get that if you are in college you can download the professor’s lecture if you missed class or need to re-listen, but Puleeze….spare me, blasting through the Karussell or hearing about organic chemistry 411, which one would you rather listen to? For me, I listen to the 10% of quality podcasting Sturgeon talked about that I’ve filtered through to get what I want.And yes, I pedaled much faster during the lap which is 14 miles, 170 bends and breathtaking.

My inner Geek comes out, video podcasting and tech toys

I’ve always been a techie type. I used to build my own PC’s when you could actually save half the price by doing so, I have tech toys out the wazoo, I’m the only one that can use one of the two surround sound systems I have…and sometimes it erupts like it did this weekend.

It all started at BlackBelt Friday. I was asked to film the performance for a video podcast that will be on iTunes and produced by the same folks that did Karate for ESPN, and got to use a new mini DV Camcorder.
That started the bug. Man I’ve got to get one of these, record right to disk, Carl Zeiss lens and it has a USB 2.0 connection built in.

Then, knowing I have travel ahead of me, went and got an iGo with tips for my phone and ThinkPad with dual power charge at once capability, car and airplane connections also. It also reminded me that I have the same cellphone as Jack Bauer this season of 24, but I had it first.

Then, knowing I needed a backup, I went and got a WD external USB 2.0 hard drive and backed up all my iTunes and data from my ThinkPad. Backed up everything.

It got to be too much, I was ready to go get my pocket protector. It reminded me of the Dilbert strip where the manliness of the engineer was determined by how many accessories he could put on his belt. Just call me poindexter

Well Nancy, that was my shopping this weekend, not Coach or DKNY…again, but I got some satisfaction and I’m on a techie high.

IBM buys Language Analysis Systems

IBM buys lots of companies to add and fill out our middleware platforms. Today we announced the purchase of LAS or Language Analysis Systems. Here’s a quote from the announcement

Language Analysis Systems of Herndon sells software the government uses to check names in foreign languages against U.S. terror and other watch lists. The company released software last year that cleans up potential misspellings in databases, and shows the likelihood that a name is a match with a file on record.

The new software is designed for use in marketing, database management and compliance with financial regulations.

Language Analysis Systems grew revenue from $2.1 million in 2003 to $3.9 million in 2004, an 86 percent increase. The company generated $6 million in revenue with 20 employees in 2005, according to the Small Business Administration.

As readers may know, I’m not the reporter on IBM announcements, I see things from my own point of view, here’s a link to the story from TechWeb if you want to read the press version.

I liked cops and robbers as a kid and I like it when the good guys get the bad guys, like my current favorite – Jack Bauer of 24. I also am geeky and like technology so I like this one.

Check names and get terrorists from watch lists, I like the way that sounds. Maybe we would have found Mohammed Atta that way, maybe not.

Maybe Chloe can use it to find the bad guys this season, that would be cool.

RIP Edgar Stiles

If IBM had as much IT power as the computers at CTU on 24 , and the expertise to use them, we’d be back in court for the monopoly trial.

I was sorry to see Edgar exit the show as I’m a huge 24 fan (starting to approach my trekkie tendencies). I can’t count the times he’s saved Jack by uploading satellite images of where the bad guys are or decoded something.

Now if tech support at most companies had Edgar qualities, a lot of things would have been solved a lot easier and faster.

What I’m going to miss the most though is I always held out for a Chloe/Edgar hookup….

Miscellany

I’m working on a couple of things that are taking longer than I thought, delaying any real issues I could be effectively writing here.

1. For ISV analyst issues, it’s going to be about SOA, SaaS and PartnerWorld in the next couple of months, watch this space and make requests to find out what we’re doing. I’ll be reaching out as we get closer, but you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to know what we’re up to.

2. Blogging, IBM is moving forward and we’ll have things to say about our company efforts as bloggers. Some tools came out at Lotusphere, but this will be more about how we organize our people efforts outwardly (jg and sog please contact me here).

3. Bloggerviews- I’ve asked Grady Booch and Rod Smith to participate. If I can get them, they should be good.

4. Not all Geeks are Wimps Part II. This has been one of the more difficult blogs I’ll have written. Some blogs come to me in my sleep, not this one. I’ve read 2 books for to prepare, and the respect I have for the person I’m writing about puts pressure on me to perform, which of course slows down the process.

5. An entire episode of 24 last night without Jack Bauer killing anyone. Hope he makes up for that next week.