Thursday, September 29, 2011

Relay: Episode 2

Episode 2

“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!” Byron panicked again. “Sis I can’t go to jail. I would not do well in jail!”

“No one is going to jail sir.” Mr. Preston started the engine. “Just a minor hiccup. Please buckle you seat belts.” They both buckled up as Mr. Preston put the car in reverse. “Good, now heads down and hold on tight!” Mr. Preston floored the accelerator. The car tires squealed.

“Hey! The door is still down!” Byron screamed just before the wagon smashed through the garage door. Outside it stopped raining and the sun had emerged. The car flew past several men in trench coats standing outside the doors of the warehouse. Julia couldn’t be sure as the car was moving too quickly but she thought she saw them brandishing guns. A few seconds later she heard the telltale pops as a round was fired off and hit the car exploding the back window. Byron and Julia cowered in their seats as Mr. Preston continued to drive, unfazed by the gunfire.

Soon several police cars could be heard in the distance. Mr. Preston pulled into a parking garage and they all got out of the vehicle.

“Follow me please.” He said, Byron and Julia were to out of breath to argue. Mr. Preston found a suitable replacement and opened it without trouble. Before Byron could believe it the car was started and pulling out of the garage. Now, Mr. Preston drove as a law abiding citizen. They sat quietly at a stop light watching the police race into the garage behind them. After three hours of driving and switching cars, they drove out of the city as the sun began to set. Mr. Preston told them it was another seven hour drive to their destination, so they should try and sleep. Neither did.

Mr. Preston took an exit ramp off the highway right around three in the morning. From there they drove on lonely country roads passing fields of corn and cows along the way. They made several turns until they reach a road running parallel to the Ohio River. Houses sat, still asleep all along the river front, staring lazily across it into West Virginia. Mr. Preston pulled into the drive way of one of the homes and killed the engine. He stepped out of the car and ushered them into the small home along the banks of the river. It looked normal enough on the inside, but Julia still felt uneasy about it. They followed Mr. Preston into the basement where he opened a door leading to a long stair case.
“Please,” He motioned for them to continue. “Show the gentlemen at the bottom of the steps your pass codes.” He shut the door behind them. The stairs dropped down before them into a deep, dark abyss of questions. Byron was more than happy to verbalize those questions.
“I don’t like this, sis,” he took hold of the hand rail. “Lurch drops us off in this creepy little town and wants us to stroll down this creepy little hallway. To what? A guy with a gas mask and a butcher knife? Buffalo Bill? I’m too young to be skinned alive!”
“Would you shut up?” Julia began to walk, Byron did not follow. “Come on, the door locked behind us, there is only one way to go now.”
“Yeah, down.” Byron followed nervously. They traveled down the stairs at a slow pace. The temperature constantly dropped as they went. Soon Julia could see her breath. Goosebumps flew up her body. Byron, being much larger than her, seemed to enjoy the drop in mercury. Not to suggest Byron was fat, Byron wasn’t overweight exactly, but he had long passed the physical peak of his youth. They reached the bottom of the steps and met another door. A camera watched as they approached. Byron grabbed the handle and tried to open it. Locked. Instead a small opening half way up the door slid open and a voice came from within.
“Codes?” Julia slid the codes through the opening. “Alright… come on in.”

The door popped open. A short bald man stuck his head through the opening. His bushy eye brows gave Byron and Julia an untrusting look.

“Hurry please. We do not have all night.” He rushed them through the door and slammed it shut. He shoved his hands in the two small pockets of his vest and gave them both a once over. “You are going to have to lose the jewelry Miss.” Julia began to remove her earrings. “The belly button ring too.”
“How did you know I had a ring there?” Julia turned red. The man just smiled and pushed his glasses back up his nose.
“My name is Arnold. I will be your Relay assistant this evening.” He removed his glasses and cleaned them. “I will be preparing you for your journey.”
“Why no jewelry?” Byron asked.
“No metal at all, gent. You’ll have to remove that belt and give me those coins in your pocket. It is pretty difficult and painful to remove rings and such when they’ve been fused to your skin.” Arnold laughed. Byron gave Julia a terrified looked and began to place his metal items into a bin provided by Arnold. Julia turned away from both of them to lift up her shirt and take her belly ring. “We will store all of these items for you and in the rare case you return, they will be given back. Now would be a good time to drink the conditioning fluid Nathan gave you.” They both did so. Byron made a terrible sound as he downed the purple liquid.
“That’s terrible!” He complained. “Does this keep us from getting sick or just make us not notice we got sicker?” Julia looked equally ill from the taste. Arnold just continued to front his glossy smile.
“We are pretty deep underground. How did you find this relay?” Julia asked when finished the drink and regained composure.
“The house above was used during the Civil War as part of the underground rail road. They found the relay chamber while carving out a tunnel to the river bank. It was boarded up for more than one hundred years because people thought it was haunted or something. Nathan’s predecessors are the ones who rediscovered it and began to research its potential.”
“What potential is that?” Byron said holding up his pants. “And what should I use as a belt? Or should I just walk around like this forever?”
“Potential everything,” Arnold began to walk down a hallway, they followed. “The relay has unimaginable potential. The reason you have come is minuscule compared to all they can do. They open up worlds of information for our use…”
“Assuming you can figure out how they work.” Julia smiled as Arnold shot her a nasty look.
“True, much is still unknown about them. But Mr. Mitchell has provided us with a great wealth of knowledge.” They passed through another door and into a cave like room. At the far end of it floated an oblong ring like structure. Carved onto the ring were rune like glyphs. There were several other people in this room; all looking at computers or listening to a tall man in the corner speak.
“Mr. Mitchell? The man who returned through the relay?” Julia asked as she pocketed her hands.
“Wesley Mitchell; he is standing over there talking to our latest group of agents preparing to leave.” Arnold pointed to the tall man. Julia and Wesley’s eyes met. Instantly the look on Wesley’s face was one of recognition. Julia had never seen the man before, but she was sure he thought they had. He continued to speak to his students, but kept his eyes on Julia. Arnold began to speak again but Julia kept her stare with Wesley. Byron, who rarely paid attention to anything, ignored Arnold’s instructions and walked toward the relay. Arnold finally stopped talking when he realized they had stopped listening. He walked up to stand with Byron by the relay. “To use it just break the inner ring with your hand. Byron timidly passed his hand through the circle. A thin red beam of light scanned across his hand. He pulled it back. “Here is where you enter a thought if you wish.”
“How?” Byron was amazed.
“A thought.” Arnold said. “Think about it and wave your hand through again. If you don’t care wait until the light turns blue and put your hand in again. Also remember if you wish to travel to the same place as someone else, you’d best hold onto them. It’s the only full proof way we know to go together. It’s also possible to jump through and travel instantly, but this method is considered dangerous. Good luck.” Arnold stepped back. Byron turned and lightly got a hold of Julia’s arm. She finally broke her stare with Wesley and turned to the relay.
“I guess he explained how to use it?” She asked Byron. He shook his head yes. “How do we enter the number?” Byron said nothing as he waved his hand through the red light and thought: thirty one. The lighted turned purple and the numerical 31 appeared in front of them for a moment. The number faded as the light turned blue. “What does that mean?” Julia asked.
“Go.” Byron said dimly as he moved his hand forward again. This time he felt a light pull radiating from the screen of light. Byron moved his grip on Julia from arm to hand and thrust his arm through the light. Instantly they felt a harsh pull and saw a flash of light, then they were gone.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Relay: Episode 1

So here we are. Episode 1 of Relay. I said pretty much everything I wanted to in last weeks post. Please enjoy.

Episode 1

Byron and Julia sat silently in their car as the rain pounded down around it. Byron turned off the windshield wipers and checked the mirrors. Julia turned her cell phone in her hand, nervously waiting for a text. The rain continued to pour. Byron began impatiently drumming on the steering wheel. Julia quickly became annoyed with her brother’s behavior and placed her hand on his. “Please, Byron.” He stopped after a long, frustrated sigh. They listened to the rain hit the car. The sound put Julia in a trance, a trance she was abruptly knocked out of when her phone chirped. The text message read: drive forward, now. She showed it to Byron and he shifted the car into drive. The rain fell so hard they could see only the outline of the large warehouse where they’d parked. Byron let off the brake and idled forward. A door appeared through the rain and mist leading them into the warehouse. They traveled through it.
Fully inside, Byron stopped the car and shut off the engine. He turned off the headlights and all went dark. “Now What?” He asked eagerly. Julia shrugged her shoulders and peered out into the darkness. A knock came from the driver side window. Byron would have jumped out of the seat if he’d remembered to take off the safety belt. Instead it locked up on him. In a fit of rage he violently unbuckled it. The man outside the car motioned for him to roll down the window. “Man you scared the shit out of me!”

Byron wanted to continue shouting but the pistol in the man’s left hand persuaded him to stop.
“My name is Mr. Preston. Nathan wonders if you’d be willing to step out of the vehicle and follow me.” Mr. Preston said.
“Sure.” Byron muttered still staring at the gun. He and Julia left the car and followed the man through the dark warehouse. The car vanished from view as they neared a door. Light beamed from behind it. Byron and Julia followed the lead man through it. On the other side they found a plain white room with one couch and one chair. The man motioned and they sat on the couch.
“Nathan will be with you shortly.” He exited the door they entered. Byron stood and looked around the room.
“All the money we had to front for this, you think they’d at least be able to afford an interior decorator.” Byron walked over to the door and turned the knob. Locked. “And this is the part where they gas us and take all the money.”
“Byron I understand this is how you deal with your nerves, but please sit the hell down!” Julia looked at her phone. No signal. Byron sat and looked at his older sister.
“And you’re sure this will be worth it? I mean we just robbed a bank to pay this guy!” Byron crossed his legs and started shaking his foot. “And we don’t even know what this relay thing does!” Julia started to answer when the door opened and Nathan walked in. His lanky legs made short work of the room’s length. He smiled and sat in the chair opposite them. Nathan placed a brief case beside the chair.
“The money?” He asked.
“In the trunk of the car, just like you said.” Julia responded. Nathan talked into his sleeve and waited for an answer. When it came he seemed pleased.
“So you would like to use the relay? Excellent.” He smiled again showing unnaturally white teeth. “I suppose you would like to know more about them? Generally people know just enough to be interested. The relays are a way to travel between.”
“Between what?” Byron asked. Nathan grinned and opened the brief case. He pulled out a thermos and two bottles.
“We’re not sure yet.” Nathan poured a purple liquid into the bottles. “Worlds, maybe. Universes, probably. Time, absolutely.” He sealed the bottles off and handed them to Byron and Julia. “Drink this just before you travel through. It should keep you from getting too sick. The entrance is in a small Ohio town. This envelope contains entry codes to our facility.” Nathan handed Julia the codes.
“Ohio? You’d think it would be in a big city like New York or L.A.” Byron said. Nathan laughed.
“Maybe in a convenient Hollywood movie. This is the real world and these relays have been around a lot longer than New York City.” Nathan closed the brief case. “The relay will give you the opportunity to input some information before you pass through. We really don’t know why. Some seem to think it has to do with your destination; we don’t really have any proof of that. You can just make up a number or something. Most leave it blank; it doesn’t seem to matter.”
“You don’t know? What do you know about them?” Byron stood. “For all we know the thing turns us inside out!”
“I can assure you it does not turn you inside out.” Nathan motioned for Byron to sit back down. He did. “Our confidence rests in those who have come through from the other side. You see, there are entrance relays and exit relays. The relay in Ohio is Earth’s only entrance that we know of. We have three exits. My company controls two of these exits. On a fairly regular basis we capture beings coming through from other places. They are disposed of. We regularly send agents into the relay. One of those agents managed to return. He traveled to thirty different worlds before finding his way back. He provided most of the information I have given you today.” Nathan stood. “You seem like people who need to get away from something. There is no better way to do so.”
“Actually, we are looking for someone who has already used the relay.” Julia spoke up.
“I see. A customer of mine?” Julia nodded her head. “I generally try to keep other clients information confidential, but you paid so much extra; to hell with it. What is his name?”
“Mabry Sager.” Julia looked at her feet.
“Oh, I see. Hmmm.” Nathan walked toward the door. “Then I guess you are Julia and Byron; his children? He told me you may come after him. He paid me double to kill you if you did.” Byron jumped off the couch. “But,” Nathan continued “You paid much more than he did. I don’t know where you got the money, but it’s more than enough to make you my new favorite customers. Mr. Preston will be along shortly to get you on your way to Ohio. Good luck.” Nathan turned and the door opened for him.
“Wait!” Julia insisted. “Do you have any idea where we could find him?”
“Thirty-one.” Nathan flashed a toothy grin and passed through the door.
“Helpful.” Byron said as he leaned against the wall. “Thirty-one; some sort of riddle?”
“It’s what Mabry entered into the relay, idiot.” Julia returned to the couch. Byron grunted and began tapping his feet. After five grueling minutes, Mr. Preston open the door and ushered them back into the dark warehouse. Their car was gone, replaced by an old beat down blue station wagon. Mr. Preston took the divers seat. Julia and Byron both sat in back.

“Seat belts, please.” Said Mr. Preston as he checked the mirrors. “It seems you were followed here by some friends. This could get bumpy.”

“Friends?” Julia asked. She looked at Byron, who seemed as confused.

“The FBI miss. Something about a bank robbery.”

Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 Mothman Festival: Recap

The Wife: Well the 10th Annual Mothman Festival was pure win as usual. It was the second year for the Mothman 5K, which we direct, and that also went very well. We had a great turnout and perfect running weather! Special thanks to all our great volunteers, we couldn't make the run a success without you! Great job to all the race participants as well! For more information on our race, go "like" the Mothman 5K Facebook page or follow on the Twitter @mothman5k.

Once our race was done, we were able to relax and enjoy the festival. (Seriously directing a 5K is way more nerve-racking and a lot more work than just running in one!) We took our families to Tu-Endie-Wei, the riverfront park murals and showed them the awesomeness that is the Mothman Festival. Of course, Mothman Pancakes were consumed. Following the festival, we had our annual Mothman Cook-out. It was an epic time as usual.

So we will leave you with an awesome photo re-cap of the 2011 Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Welcome to Relay

The original idea for this blog was a way to keep me consistently writing. 2011 has been a good year for that as I have posted at least one per week all year so far (thanks in part to the help from the Wife who has at times carried me). Another idea was to eventually post original fiction. Well, welcome to Relay. Over the next 12 weeks Thursday’s will be the home of Relay, an episodic tale from my terrifying mind. I’m not here to say it’s good or bad; I’m just letting you know it is coming. Be prepared. These first 12 episodes will act as “Season 1” if you’d like to break it down that way. Ready yourself for the obligatory cliffhanger ending. Episodes will be around 1500 words, give or take. Assuming anyone reads this tale and enjoys it then following seasons will be published. If no one reads, I will be forced to reconcile with my utter failure and retreat to the deep forests of Canada to live out my life as a survivalist hermit.

First I’d like to thank the Wife and Sara, a fellow blogger and good friend to Dump, for their help in the editing department. I am a notoriously bad typist. Type-os, misspelling and misusage of words are all too prevalent in my first drafts. They both ruined many of the proverbial red pens getting through these episodes. They have also provided suggestions about story line problems, continuity and of course the Wife suggested the whole work would be lifted by a steamy shower scene. I have taken some of their suggestions to heart, others have been totally rejected. I believe criticism of ideas is one of the best ways to improve your own writing and I greatly appreciate their help on this project.

Here is the part where I beg on my hands and knees like a whore for your comments. I know most of you readers are not mindless zombies with no opinions beyond a love of eating brains. So please comment. Tell me what you think. If it sucks giant donkey balls, then tell me. If you think the main characters are boring, tell me. If the entire work offends you on the most basic of intellectual levels, then TELL ME! Oh, you can also let me know if you like it ;) Also feel free to comment on what others have said about the work. Remember there is nothing better than an all out flame war on the internetz!

The episodes will be labeled Relay; meaning if you miss an installment or two you can quickly and easily find them all gathered together by simply clicking the Relay option at the bottom of the posts or on the side bar titled Labels. It’s almost as if I want to make it as easy as possible for you to find and read these. But seriously please enjoy the story. I realized one day, after a long period of depression, that it doesn’t matter if any of my stories are ever ‘traditionally published’ as long as people somewhere read and enjoy them. So I will see you next week for Episode 1 of Relay.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Best Picture Project 11, Crash

Hey, Best Picture Project here! FINALLY, we have our Crash review, just for you! Any suggestions for what BPP to watch next? No? Well boo you...

Crash, 2005

Hobo Dan: According to the internet, if you do not like this movie you are racist. The great anonymous hordes of the world wide web seem happy to proclaim this truth. What I can't seem to understand is why? This is not the greatest movie I have ever seen. In my opinion it's not even better than Walk the Line, a film not even nominated best picture. I did enjoy the movie. The acting was top notch and the story, even at times disjointed, was meaningful and came together at the end in an impacting way. So yes I like this movie, no I don't think it deserved best pic honors. So does that make me racist? If you didn't like Braveheart does that make you racist toward Scottish people? If you didn't like Slumdog Millionaire does it make you racist toward Indian people? If you didn't like Gladiator does it make you racist toward Roman people? If you didn't like Lord of the Rings: Return of the King does it make you racist toward Hobbits, Dwarves and Elves? No? So maybe people don't like the movie simply because they did not like the movie? What ever.

The Wife: Well, according to the internet and many ignorant people, I am a "racist" because I detested Crash. I, of course, may be a little bias because Walk the Line (one of my all time favorite films and the movie that should have won) wasn't even nominated for the Best Picture category that year. Crash was done in "Love Actually" style, which I do enjoy. I'll discuss the good points first. The cast was all star and I don't think there was a bad actor in the film; heck, even LUDACRIS did a good job! Acting can only a carry a film so far, however. Whereas Love Actually and even Valentine's Day, for goodness sakes, came together quite well, this film seemed very disjointed. Not to mention it was predictable as all get out. Only about one of the "shockers" actually caught me off guard...not the action of the scene itself, but how the scene happened. Yes, I get that one of the themes was to show that everyone carries a stereotype or racist attitude of some sort. That being said, almost every character had some type of "redemption moment," but Ryan Phillipe's character. If the whole burning his car is supposed to be it or his guilt of his actions,  than the movie failed to convey this BIG time. Yes, I consider myself to be an intelligent person and I "got" Crash...I just didn't care for it. I am not sorry either if I offend you for disliking Crash. I am absolutely not a racist person. I flat out didn't like this movie. As I mentioned previously, Walk the Line is the real Best Picture winner. However, if you haven't seen Crash, take the time to watch it, because maybe you will like it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mothman Festival 2011

I woke last night in a cold sweat. I went to the kitchen to get a drink. That's when I saw them; the red eyes. I froze. I always thought the Mothman was a myth, but this indisputable evidence made me think other wise. Then my wife came in and turned on the kitchen light. The red eyes turned into the coffee machine. "What are you doing?" she asked. "Nothing." I replied and returned to bed.

You know what's not the best idea? Reading the Mothman Prophecies when you live right in the middle of where said book is based. It makes you think silly thoughts and wonder if you're really alone or not. Needless to say I read the book when the Wife and I move here to Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It was very different from how I thought it would be. Much more journalistic, much more believable. I grew up just across the river from Point Pleasant in Ohio, so I've always heard of Mothman, but I never put too much interest in it. Here in Point Pleasant you either like Mothman or hate Mothman. I don't mean the creature itself, I mean what it represents. There are many people in town who'd rather ignore the idea all together, like nothing ever happened. I can't figure out if they are scared or embarrassed. Others like myself embrace the myth for what it is; a myth. Mothman is something that put Point Pleasant on the map and I think too many people who live there forget that.

So if you haven't heard, September 16-18 is the 10th Annual Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia! The event features music, hay rides through the TNT area, vendors and speakers. The festival starts on Friday with the Miss Mothman Pageant. On Saturday morning the Wife and I will host the second annual Mothman 5k run (contact me for more info or follow on Facebook and the Twitter). Shortly after the run the festival itself gets into full swing in historic downtown Point Pleasant. I have been several times now, so here is a run down of the things you must do. Mothman Pancakes! Yes, pancakes shaped like Mothman. Eat them. The Ghostbusters will be there for a photo opportunity. Meet the "Men in Black," (minus Will Smith) who can be spotted wondering all over the festival. Take your picture with the famous Mothman statue at Gunn Park. Also, be sure to catch screenings of Eyes of the Mothman and The Mothman Prophecies, which will be shown at the Historic State Theater on Main St.  Here is an article on the festival written by a talented and knowledgeable local news reporter.

So plan out a fun adventure to Mothmantown. Look us up if you drop in, as long as you're not a creepy stalker type.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

So sorry this review has taken us so long. We actually saw this last weekend, but ended up watching too much Mad Men on Netflix to review either this or Crash...yes, we still have yet to watch Crash. Hey, at least this builds some anticipation, right? Well, let's get down to the monkey, we mean, ape business!

The Wife: I've never seen any of the other "Apes" movies, but the husband explained the plot of the original for me. I really do think Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a good film, even though the title is way too long. This movie could be viewed as a prequel to the original series or as a complete re-boot, however you want to see it. I do think it made enough money and set up potential for sequels. Overall, I did like this movie, but it was VERY hard to watch. I am a huge animal lover and absolutely fell in love with the Caesar character. Obviously, if you have a heart, you probably side with the apes in this film. I was very upset with the way they were treated and it was sad to see the relationship between Caesar and James Franco's character change. While I do believe Caesar still loved Franco, it was just flat out heart breaking. I had the same sick feeling watching this movie as I did when we saw Marley & Me a few years ago.

Acting wise, it was decent, even though I find it hard to believe Franco as a scientist. He is probably one of the hottest actors in Hollywood, but he just seems better suited to rolls in films like The Pineapple Express and as the awesome Harry Osborn. Third Rock From the Sun dad did a good job playing Franco's character's dad, who was suffering from dementia/alzheimer's. As for Draco Malfoy, I mean Tom Felton, I thought he did pretty good (this was the first film I've seen him in outside of the Harry Potter franchise). However, at times I felt like I was watching Draco because it seemed that Felton's British accent slipped through occasionally. I do love me some Draco Malfoy though, so all was forgiven! Girl from Slumdog Millionaire's character didn't add much to the film, but I think her character was used to show that Franco's character was moving on with his life.

Looks wise, some of the CGI seemed a bit too cartoonish, but it was still enjoyable, nonetheless. I don't know if I could stomach seeing this again because I just get so emotionally attached to the apes, but I would certainly recommend it. (I apologize for not using the characters' actual names.)

Hobo Dan: Rise of the Movie of the Stupid Name wasn't half bad. I freely admit I hated on this for many reasons. One of those reasons was the amazingly sour taste the last apes movie left in and around my mouth. Tim Burton and Marky Mark really screwed the pooch on that one. Another part of me is just sad  Hollywood can't come up with new ideas and just has to keep reusing old franchises. It makes me sad. I can't hold that against this movie though. For what it is (either a reboot or a prequel; I can't tell) it is really good. There are several uneven places here and there. The acting is not the greatest, but the story works and you really feel for the poorly rendered CGI apes. I understand there are scenes in the film that require computer animation, but there are other times that don't. Caesar, the main ape, must be CGI'ed, so I guess to keep everything even they decided to animate them all.

What does this mean for the future of the apes? Well I will go into full on guns blazing revolt if they decide to remake the original Planet of the Apes. I say go the route of the most recent Star Trek movie and invent a new history of the planet. But here I am discussing the sequel for a film I whine and complained about being made in the first place; so I digress. Here is one good idea, a giant ape poo fight over control of their budding civilization. One can only hope.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fall 2011 TV Preview

Finally it's here! The Wife's Fall TV Preview!

Well with the start of September, it's almost time for the new television seasons! I can't wait for the return of my favorite shows, so in this post I will be doing my Fall TV preview. Most of the shows I will be discussing in detail are the ones I like, have watched or anticipate seeing. I will mainly be covering the major networks along with The CW. Don't expect any coverage on all of those CSI, Law and Order blah blah blah shows that I all seem the same to me!

Well, lets get started with what's going on with Fox. I will began by discussing my most anticipated show...I bet you will never guess it...or if you know me, you obviously know that it is going to be:

1. GLEE! The show that I have literally become obsessed with will be entering its third season this fall with the season premiere scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 20. Now let me just say the first season was AMAZING! I instantly fell in love with this show. It has all the elements: amazing characters, who I've grown attached to; comedy; drama; and as a music fan, all of the singing! That being said, the second season was a bit of a disappointment. I still love the show, but some of the magic was gone. I also felt  that some of the character development that had been achieved in season one was forgotten. (For Glee fans, Um barely any mention of Quinn and the baby! Plus, no action for Puck and Quinn! grrr). Also, many of the episodes seemed to lack an overall plot and there were too many tribute episodes (I did like the Britney Spears tribute, however). The last few episodes of season two made up for the rest of the season though and kept me hooked and excited for season three. I know that Glee creator Ryan Murphy has said this season will follow more plot-driven episodes and rely less on guest stars, which is good, even though I'd love to see the return of Gwyneth Paltrow as Holly Holiday! I also hope they keep my Finchel (Finn and Rachel) together and have their drama be life after high school. There better not be another love triangle with Quinn again! I can't wait to see what's in store with Kurt and Blaine, and of course, I expect more comedic gold from my girl, Santana, Brittany and Sue Sylvester!

2. Fringe —Premieres Friday, Sept. 23. Sorry, I know nothing about this show!

3. Terra Nova, a new show to Fox. Premieres Monday, Sept. 26. This appears to be a science fiction drama, which is set in the year 2149, a time when life on planet earth is at the threat of extinction. I am slightly interested in this, so I will probably end up watching an episode online once it airs. It also has Jason O'Mara in it, who played Sam Tyler in my beloved Life on Mars show that ABC axed a few years ago (grrrr I am still a little bitter about that)!.

4. The other big Fox shows set to return are House (Monday, Oct. 3) and Bones (Thursday, Nov. 3). I used to LOVEEEE House but honestly haven't watched consistently since about the third or fourth season. When I realized Allison Cameron and House would never come together as a couple I got disinterested. Also, I feel that some of the plot declined. However, once House finishes I do intend to re-watch the series again from start to finish. I know that Bones is very popular, but I haven't seen a single episode so I can't offer commentary on this other than David Boreanaz, who I know from Buffy and Angel, is in it, and he is one fine piece of man.

Now let's talk about ABC!

1. Grey's Anatomy — Premiers Thursday, Sept. 22. Oh Grey's, how I used to LOVE you. Grey's was MY "IT" SHOW! I even had a no talking rule during Grey's. I was obsessed. Unfortunately, the writing and characters on the show have slowly gone downhill with each passing season. Grey's was the show I looked forward to all week. The finales used to be phenomenal and would suck me in for the next season. However, last season I found myself hardly able to focus on an episode and let's not forget the disastrous musical episode (I like Glee for my music!). That particular episode would have been great drama without the useless musical element. This season's Grey's finale was terrible and didn't feel like a Grey's finale at all! It did not leave me on the edge of my seat, but instead made me realize the show I had once loved was on it's way to being DUNZO! I mean why start more drama for Mer and Der? I would rather see them struggle as new parents or a couple trying to obtain a child. Oh and the lack of Lexie-Mark seriously annoys me. Really ever since Izzie and George left, this show lost its original spark. Don't get me wrong, I still intend to watch Grey's, but for the first time I will be watching The Office first. I will watch Grey's on the ABC player on my iPad.

2. Dancing With the Stars — Premieres Monday, Sept. 19. Love this show and guess who else enjoys it, yes, the husband! That being said, I am pretty disappointed with this season's cast. I knew it would be hard to beat last season with my Hines Ward, who won the mirror ball trophy! Some of the new contestants include soccer player, Hope Solo (awesome name!), Nancy Grace (really?), Kristin Cavallari, Chaz Bono, Ricki Lake, David Arquette and Robert Kardashian. The premise of the show is to use B list celebs and under as well as reality stars and people who are trying to revive their careers or desperately cling on to their 15 minutes of fame, but this cast really seems pretty weak. I do like that I can't really see a front runner at the moment, which I think made last season so great. I will of course watch and currently have decided to root for Hope Solo (unless her personality sucks) simply because of her name. I mean that's what my name would be if I married Han Solo, assuming he wasn't a fictional character! It will be interesting to see the audience's reaction to Chaz Bono. The majority of DWTS viewers are conservative so I wonder how long Chaz will last. I question his fame, but I do applaud his effort. He knew the heat he would get for going on the show and that takes guts. Plus, he is dancing with one of my favorite pro's, Lacey Schwimmer!

3. Private Practice — Premieres Thursday, Sept. 29. The Grey's spinoff that I watch on and off. This show gets really good and then really bad. This is why I've stopped watching on a regular basis. In fact, I have yet to see the finale from last season. I do like some of the characters (Charlotte and Cooper) but that is about it! This show would be better if they made Addison less of a train wreck and stopped with the old people sex scene montages at the start of each episode!

4. Castle — Premieres Monday, Sept. 19. Ok, a few of you may know this, but I absolutely refuse to watch this show even though I've been told I would like it. Why? Well it kicked off my beloved aforementioned Life on Mars show (and come on, it does seem predictable). This has now become a running joke between the husband and myself. Ever since Castle first aired I would decree "no one likes that show!" in anger of my canceled Life on Mars. Well apparently people do. I still refuse to watch though...

5. ABC has several other shows returning or starting...too many for me to name off. I will quickly mention Pan Am, a new series, which is scheduled to premiere Sunday, Sept. 25. I love shows set in that time period so I will give it a shot. And no, I am not mentioning Desperate Housewives because I can't stand that show!

Let's move on to NBC shall we?

1. The Office — Premieres, Thursday, Sept. 22. Can't wait to see more of my beloved Andy Bernard and hilarity from Dwight. It will be interesting to see life at Dunder-Mifflin without Michael Scott. I have to admit I am not thrilled with who has been selected to be the new boss. However, I am sure comedic gold will still ensue and I can't wait!

2. Sorry to say, but I really don't watch much of anything else on NBC. I have seen Parks and Recreation a hand full of times (premieres Thursday, Sept. 22), but not enough to discuss it. Other popular shows returning that I've never seen include 30 Rock (return date not announced) and Chuck (Friday, Oct. 21.)

Ok, now it's time for CBS!

1. Two and a Half Men — Premieres Monday, Sept. 19. The most talked about sitcom for months since the winning-ness of Charlie Sheen was axed from the show. Evidently, according to a spoiler, they will be killing Sheen off and having his funeral in the first episode. Ashton Kutcher, famous for being the purely awesome Kelso on That 70's Show, has signed on to replace Sheen. While I have only watched Two and a Half Men in syndication, I always found the show to be funny and I really want to see how they will handle Sheen's loss. I do think that Ashton can be good on the show, but let's face it, he is no Sheen. I guarantee he does not have tiger blood in his veins. Nor does he have one speed, one gear, GO!

2. How I Met Your Mother — Premieres Monday, Sept. 19. I recently have become hooked on this show. It almost comes close to Friends and Frasier in terms of sitcom awesomeness. Neil Patrick Harris is great and the cast as a whole is very entertaining.

3. Ok, so most of the other CBS shows are all those CSI-type shows I can't stand. So we are done with this network.

Finally, I've covered the major networks, but I must discuss The CW lineup! Yes, I still love the teen dramas. Get over it!

1. Gossip Girl — Premieres Monday, Sept. 26. My most anticipated show on The CW and show that I am most excited for next to Glee. Ever since season 2, I had only watched Gossip Girl online because it became horribly stale and they ruined one of my favorite couples, Blair and Chuck, due to crappy writing. However, after catching up with the show towards the end of last fall, I became hooked once again thanks to the awesome banter between Blair and Dan (or Dair, the deemed ship name). This brought a wonderful new element never before seen on Gossip Girl. I also secretly always liked the idea of Dan and Blair since season one, but I never thought it would happen! They finally kissed last season, but when the final string of episodes aired, it seemed that Dair was cast to the side in favor of a crappy prince story line and more overdone Blair-Chuck drama. *Yawn* I really don't think the writers new how popular Dair would become and how it would revive the show. The finale did leave us with hope for the ship, however, and managed to suck me in for season five. While I hate story lines like this, the "who's pregnant" cliffhanger does have me guessing (it better not be Blair!). Hopefully, Gossip Girl will bring us some Dair action finally and will continue with their "OMG" plots that we all love so much. You know you love me, XOXO. (Only Gossip Girl fans just got that and the husband who sometimes watches)!

2. 90210 — Premieres Tuesday, Sept. 13. I am a huge fan of the original Beverly Hills 90210. This new 90210 will never compare, but I must admit the drama sucks me in! The season ended with the core characters' graduation and with another pregnancy plotline — this one involving my favorite character, Naomi. (Seriously what is up with The CW and pregnancy plots?) I really hope Naomi stays with her nerdy boyfriend, Max, or reunites with Liam, who is currently taken by the annoying Annie. Also, it will be interesting to see what is in store for Adrianna, who went insane last season. I wonder if they will keep Silver and Navid as a couple too. I heard Teddy might not be on the show either, which sort of disappoints me. He had a great story arc last season.

3. The Vampire Diaries — Premieres Thursday, Sept. 15. So, I had written off this show, but recently caught some episodes, including last season's finale, and I must say, this show is AWESOME! Plus Boone from Lost is in it! Winning! I think I am going to try and catch up and tune in. I haven't even seen every episode and the finale managed to suck me in, so it should be good!

4. The CW has some new shows including Hart of Dixie, scheduled to premiere Monday, Sept. 26. The show stars Rachel Bilson, of The OC fame. (Am I the only one who seriously misses The was one of the BEST shows!). I will probably watch this just for Bilson. Hopefully it will be good. The Secret Circle, set to premiere Thursday, Sept. 15, looks halfway decent. Kevin Williamson, Dawson's Creek (another show I miss) creator is the executive producer. Other CW shows I won't mention because I honestly don't care about them. As for One Tree Hill, I don't think it premieres until spring 2012. I used to love One Tree Hill until the show became basically an unrealistic spinoff of its former self...however, I keep thinking each season will be its last and I watch all the finales. Oh well, it won't be returning this fall so we can cut that discussion short.

So there you go, my Fall 2011 TV Preview! I know this is long and it may seem like I watch too much TV, but I mainly watch my core shows on regular airtime and the others I catch online. Another show I must mention before I wrap this up is the Discovery Channel's Dual Survival. I am obsessed with this show and the comedic gold that Cody Lundin provides! I have no idea if new episodes will air this fall though. I hope you all are as excited for fall TV as I am. I know it doesn't compare to the winning power of Shark Week, however!