Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Desolation - Chapter One (draft)

Her knees bent and hands charging forward, Kelsey Simpson chased the late afternoon shadows down the highline trail, arcing perfect turns that barely kicked up snow from the tails of her skis. Glancing briefly to her right, she noticed her friend Kim Collins – donning a sharp look of determination mixed with a playful smile – had pulled even with her. Despite the momentary blow to her ego, Kelsey knew Kim was a pretty darned good skier in her own right.

The two slowed as they neared a long right-handed bend on the trail that followed the fall line of the mountain. Kelsey suddenly dropped her right knee and turned sharply toward the left side of the trail where an opening in the trees gave way to expansive views of the southern tier of the Desolation Wilderness and the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Kelsey stopped just short of an orange boundary rope that stretched across the gap.
Visibly short of breath, Kim stopped next to Kelsey, who was peering down a steep and rocky slope that poured down the backside of Boulder Ridge, and said, “Come on, Kelsey, not today. It’s getting late in the day and I’m too tired to schlep up to Route Fifty.”

“Really?” Kelsey sighed. “Two hours ago you were all excited to ski that line you’ve been talking about for weeks and now you’re too tired? What gives?”

“I know, I know, but that storm’s coming in and we can’t afford to get caught out there.”

Kelsey turned around and peered north, the deep blue hue of Lake Tahoe encompassing her line of sight. She pointed to the rugged, snow-covered peaks dotting the north shore and said, “System’s supposed to come down from the Cascades and that front’s been stalled over the northern edge of the basin for the past couple of hours. We’ve got plenty of time, Kimmy. Besides, you’re supposed to have my back.”

“That’s nice,” Kim replied, “you’re always good for a guilt trip. Tell you what; how about you ski the backside and I’ll meet you with a car? That way you won’t have to hitchhike.”

“I dropped off my car at Alpaca Pete’s this morning; I’m all set, but thanks.”

“You dropped off your car or Aaron took it to work – again?” Kim quipped.

“You know, Kim, we gotta find you a man. That way you could learn all about compromise. Hey wait a minute. There’s a candidate!” she said, pointed to a lone skier perched by the other end of the rope.

“Umm. Nice one-piece,” she laughed. “Love the bandana.”

“Well these days you can’t be too picky; this town’s too full of druggies and tourists.”

“And which category does he fall into?”
Kelsey pulled her goggles down from her navy blue knit hat, flashed Kim a smile, and said, “Pretty cute, actually. Probably some yuppie up from the Bay Area. If he doesn’t follow me out of bounds, you should make a move.”

Kim looked at her watch and said, “Ok. You gonna be home tonight or are you going to your job?”

“Have to pay the bills, Kimmy.” Kelsey winked at her friend and pushed off without another word, her skis gliding slowly through the untracked snow until the gravity began to pull her down the treacherously steep slope.

As Kelsey finished the last of a few dozen tight turns without the slightest paused, she dropped off a five-foot ledge without hesitation and turned abruptly to avoid a stump that crested through the previous nights’ snowfall like a mine waiting to be stepped on. She knew that one miscalculated turn could easily mean a devastating meeting with a white pine and perhaps a broken bone or several.

With the valley floor quickly approaching, Kelsey snaked her way through a patch of thin saplings and slowed as she approached a clearly in the woods. Breathing heavily, she let herself fall over onto her side and landed in snow so soft it was like jumping into a pile of cotton. “Unreal,” she said out loud and turned to look back up the mountain, her body almost completely covered in powder.

If she hadn’t felt so alive, she would have sworn she were in heaven. The perfect run to end the perfect day was just what the doctor ordered, but now she’d have to strap a pair of seal skins to her skis and make the mile-long trek out to Route Fifty. The clouds, the ones she’d seen dozens of miles away, were beginning to block out the late afternoon sun. There was no time to relax.

Copyright © 2011 Jerry Graffam

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gym, Tanning, Laundry... GTL, BABY!

There are some people that don’t get it, some that want it off the television airwaves, and those that just can’t get enough, but the bottom line is that regardless, The Jersey Shore isn’t only controversial, but it’s absolutely one of the hottest reality phenomenons to hit television ever.

While season one has been in the books for months and season two in production, Julie and I were fortunate enough be able to introduce a couple friends to the show a few weeks back. Would the two of us really like to hang out with the cast and take our respective grenades on some sleazy strip of the New Jersey shoreline? Absolutely not, but for some reason, this show worked in so many ways. There was controversy, romance, a little violence, and a whole lot of Gym, Tanning, and Laundry.

The airing for season two has not been announced by MTV yet, but if I were you, I would be getting ready for more good times with this greasy cast!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter Hibernation!

Have you ever wondered why there is so much frustration among television viewers when it comes to the summer? I realize that seasons end and some for good, but we really make more out of this time off from the regular programming than we should. Why? Two reasons, actually. First, there are always unique and interesting summer shows to fill slots. Sure, these shows are more filler than anything, but every once and a while there’s a gem in there that gets put into the regular rotation and becomes a hit. The second reason that people should be so down on the summer is that quite frankly, it’s actually much better than the winter. I mean there is a delay between new episodes of almost all shows now and most are as long as summer. And yet with all the awards shows and sports, we rarely notice this. Now I don’t know about you, but I could care less about college football bowl games and one movie award show after another. If winter was like summer and had some good original programming, I guess I wouldn’t mind it so much. Then again, networks could just lesson the interruption between shows and we’d be all set!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So much good television, but not too much time to watch!

As we find ourselves in the midst of the November Sweeps, I find myself in what I like to consider a television weekly niche. While there are shows that I just don’t get to watch either when they air or via DVR, there are a bunch that I get from Netflix and watch during the summer or in the off season. Criminal Minds, for example, is a show I love, but I have to be in the right mood to watch it. So if I were to try and watch it each week, it just wouldn’t work out and I would feel like I lost my place, but by watching it after the season, I can watch it when I feel like it. I know that’s pretty much the concept of a DVR or TIVO, but DVRs only hold so much space.

So when the fall season began a while back, I was torn as to which shows I wanted to focus on. I only have so much time a week to actually watch television and with some shows not coming on till spring, I have now settled on a few shows that get DVR’s whether I get to see them the night they air or not. Sons of Anarchy, Fringe, Flash Forward, Stargate Universe, and now V, are on my weekly slate and it’s literally turning out to be a fabulous TV season. So many new ideas and shows that bring fresh faces and original idea, it can be hard to choose. But then again, there’s always Netflix.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flash Forward Sees Good Ratings In Its' Future!

To be frank, I pretty much thought that the only creator/producer, who could put a show with a science fiction twist on a network and have it be successful, was J.J. Abrams. Furthermore, I have previously stated that people, by-in-large don’t turn out for these shows after the initial few weeks, but I hope to be wrong on both counts.

No, I’m not talking about V, which I really am excited to see this November, but having had some extra time, I got to catch up on the first few episodes of Flash Forward and to say that I am pleasantly surprised is an understatement. When I first learned of the plot I was excited for the first episode and then pretty much thought would be downhill from there. I mean what could be exciting about this show after that initial blackout, or flash forward, if you will? It turns out, a lot. I mean it was the same odl predicatable disaster recovery plan being put in place, but rather, a search for answers.

Giving away the plot and what has happened would be a disservice, but I will say that this show is for real. The writers have accomplished the most important aspect of a successful show; they have made us care about the characters and we desperately want to know what will happen next. Clever twists and crisp acting make this show a winner in my book.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Network Execs Take Gambles On Remakes This Year!

It’s not often that television show can be remade and be successful. Like movies, television remakes often fall flat to the viewers, but that hasn’t kept ABC from digging into the vault to try and dredge up some magic. Perhaps they saw that their former late-70’s series Battlestar Galactica was successfully remade and became one of the most successful cable shows ever, but the key to such success of that show lies in that it was on Sci-Fi and not network television. Save shows like Lost and to some degree, Fringe, Sci-Fi shows just aren’t successful on network television.

Nonetheless, ABC has already debuted a remake of 1991’s Eastwick, which in its’ own right, was modeled after the 80’s movie, The Witches of Eastwick. Despite a stellar cast including Lindsay Price, Rebecca Ramon, and Paul Gross, this show is destined to be on the chopping block.

With less fanfare, but perhaps loftier expectations from science fiction, V debuts on November 3rd. For those watching the tube in 1983 and 1984, the two V mini-series were huge hits, but the serial was nothing of the sort. After 14 episodes, it was gone. And yet, a remake has been discussed for years. NBC had developed a remake with the same cast, but later scrapped the project. Now ABC has round up some of TV’s bright young stars, reshaped the menacing visitor mother ships, and is hoping it can find an instant hit with science fiction and mainstream fans alike. I applaud their effort on the latter and would love to see the success, but I’m afraid I’ll only catch a few episodes before the ratings catch up to V as well.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Damn! Sons of Anarchy kicks some serious A$$!

OK, so I’ve been away from this blog for a while, but alas, it’s been for good reason; I’ve been working on my own fiction instead of talking about others’. Nevertheless, I truly felt compelled to come back here and write after I “took a shot” on a series that originally caught my eye prior to the series premiere last year.

Son’s of Anarchy had received good reviews and FX Network had become pretty well-known for putting out some good original programming, but for some reason, I opted not to watch SOA when it debuted last year. The likely reason is that there are so many other shows that I was trying to juggle; I just didn’t have the time.

Low and behold, I found my Netflix cue looking a little boring and decided to put something in between ubiquitous crime and investigative dramas. SOA fit the bill and I got my first DVD last week In a word – Awesome!

No, biker gangs aren’t new to pop culture, and SOA doesn’t put anymore of a pretty picture on the faces of these would be renegades, but it does humanize them to a degree where the viewer can almost relate to some of the emotions of the characters. Of course they follow-up by beating the hell out of someone and we take back these emotions, but for moment, the bikers are no less real and likable than any other character. To be frank, the characters, realistic or not, are quite likable. And while I’ve only watched four episodes; I’m hooked. This show has balls and FX just isn’t afraid to throw it out there and make The Sopranos look like an after school special.

Don’t believe me? Tune in to the Season 2 premiere on September 8th at 10:00pm EST.