As some of you can tell, I haven’t been writing as much lately. I’m sorry; between apartments searchs and everything else I’ve got going on right now, I just haven’t had the time, and when I do, I’m too tired to really concentrate on writing.
But I do want to say a few words about my favorite TV station: The Discovery Channel. Lately, it seems like everyone is getting into it, and quite frankly, I couldn’t be happier. It means that there’s atleast some people out there that think shows like Deal No Deal on NBC rot the brain. I’d just like to talk a little bit about some of the shows:
Cash Cab: This show has been around for awhile; I’ve just never watched it. But they’ve really been promoting it, so I’ve started. And like most shows on the channel, its great. So many trivia shows put all the emphasis on drama, and miss the main part: trivia. The first of these, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, was actually really good. And people loved it, which is interesting, seeing as it was on network TV, and most shows on network TV appeal to idiots. But even Millionaire relied on some gimmicky stuff to keep people interested: in the end, it never stood up to the Grandaddy of Trivia Shows, Jeopardy. It has had more viewers, was more exciting, and had more lights, but in the end Jeopardy simply had much more trivia: it was a better quality show. And Jeopardy is still around; Millionaire isn’t.
Since Millionaire, a lot of spin-offs have come around, leading to the most recent, Deal No Deal, which I won’t even discuss. Amidst all this crap, Cash Cab is a treasure. It combines quality trivia with a little piazz, just not as much as Millionaire. Check it out if you’re not doing anything on weeknights between 6 and 7.
Survivorman: These days, the show that really seems to be sweeping everyone by storm is Man Vs. Wild. I first saw it back in the fall: it was a random Friday night, I was going somewhere, and I ended up being an hour late because I couldn’t stop watching it. I’m glad this show has finally made it: it totally kicks ass.
But there’s another show out there that doesn’t get nearly the publicity: Survivorman. Survivorman follows the pursuits of Les Stroud, a guy who runs an outdoor Canoe Company in Candada. He’s left stranded by himself abosuletly wild places, such as Pond Inlet, Nunavut (above the Artic Circle), northern areas of Canada, the Canyonlands, Utah, and remote areas of Costa Rica. Unlike Man Vs. Wild, Les is actually left totally alone in the wilderness; there is no camera guy or sound guy to accompany him. This is not take anything away from what Bear does on Man Vs. Wild; its simply different.
Les carries over fifty pounds of camera equipment on his journeys. He does all of his shooting with his tripod and handheld cameras. Its not quite as in your face as Bear’s show, but its equally impressive. To give an example: Les will descend a rockwall that stands in his way, set up his tripod with the camera aimed at the same rock wall, climb back up the wall, and then descend it with the camera rolling, just to show us how he does it. Then he throws the equipment back on his back. I don’t care what anyone says….that’s damn impressive. I’ve also seen him walk across an entire valley with the camera rolling and pointing at him; once he’s done walking, he has to turn around and come all the way back for his equipment.
Anyway, I feel his show to be a little more intimate: its almost like a wilderness diary. And he doesn’t get nearly the attention that Man Vs. Wild gets. So if you come across Survivorman on Discovery: don’t change the channel. Just a heads up: there’s a new one airing this Friday night.
Man Vs. Wild: Okay….I couldn’t have this conversation without mentioning Man Vs. Wild. It simply wouldn’t be right. But since I’m assuming that most everyone has seen the show atleast once, I’m not going to talk about (okay, I lied: a brief description: This guy Bear is dropped by plane into wilderness areas, and along with his camera guy and sound guy [both survival experts, also], he demonstrates how to survive in the wild and get back to safety. It usually takes him a couple days).
Anyway, I’d like to talk a little bit about the man, the myth, the legend, Bear Grylls (just so everyone knows: this info was taken from Discovery’s websit:
- Bear grew up on the Isle of Wright, where he would hike with his father.
- Bear served for three years in the Special Air Service, a special forces unit of the British Army. While serving, he broke his back in three different places while parachuting over Southern Africa.
- Despite his injuy, he became the youngest British climber to summit and descend Mt. Everest, at the age of 23. He wrote a book about his experience.
- Following this feat, he and some members of his climbing group became the first people to succesfully circumnavigate the United Kindom on jet skiis. You read that right: Jet Skiis. I mean, can you imagine driving a jet ski around the entire United Kingdom??
- But that’s not all: Following this, he led the first unassisted crossing of the North Atlantic Ocean in an open rigid inflatable boat. That’s the North Atlantic folks…..the same place where the Perfect Storm took place. And that’s an inflatable boat, thats, well….inflatable. The more you learn about Bear, the more you realize that he’s not even really human….he’s like a super human. He wrote a book about the experience and the British Navy awarded him for it.
- In 2005, Bear took his amazingness to a whole new level: breaking a world record, he decided to host a dinner party at 24,500 feet. The table was suspended by a cable attached to a hot air balloon. He rappelled from the basket to the table, dressed in a full Royal Naval uniform, and ate a three course meal. After eating, he saluted the Queen and sky-dived to Earth. I don’t even know what to say here…..I’m flabbergasted. (Note: he raised money for two charities while doing this).
- Also in 2005, Bear took a group of men to the Sahara to undero the strenous training of the French Foreign Legions. Ofcourse, it was all done in the heat of the Sahara. (This was for a British TV show).
- And finally, just two months ago, Bear became the first person ever to paraglide over the summit of Mt. Everest. Yes, that is correct….he paraglided over Mt. Everest, at 29,500 ft. It was a special paraglider with an engine attached, in order to reach these heights. He had a partner with him in another paraglider whose engine failed, so only Bear made it over the summit. After flying over the top, his engine died too, so he had to fly to safety. But just imagine this for a second: the top of Mt. Everest is one of the most extreme places in the world. People can’t even breathe there without oxygen tanks. And this guy was actually paragliding around in the air?? I mean….I’m speechless.
- Did I mention: he has numerous books that are best sellers.
So to end this discussion: Bear Grylls might be the most incredible guy on the planet. No wonder I’m addicted to his show. To make him even cooler, he lives on a barge on the River Thames, with his wife and two sons, one of whom is named Marmaduke.
Bear Grylls: the man who is cooler than everyone else.
Until Next Time,