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Bill Toscano
Works at Manchester Newspapers
Attended Westerly High School
Lived in Glens Falls, NY
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Bill Toscano

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NCIS: (Last post was around Season 12, Episode 20; Now through all of Season 12).
Here's a direct quote from my last NCIS post: 
"I watched a lot of Season 12, and I felt like it was really dragging. My understanding is it picks up in the final episodes, so I will have to go back and watch those."
That turns out to be true. I  have mentioned that I like shows that really get an arc going, and in the last four episodes or so, NCIS really gets a good one going, all the way up to a cliffhanger ending for the season. I am really glad I went back to finish it, and now I am looking forward to the next season.

Zoo: (Last post was at Season 1, Episode 5; Now at Season 1, Episode 7).
Dragging a little bit. The show is a lot more interesting when it focuses on the animals rather than the people. You can definitely see how they are drawing it out a bit, and right now, things are a little confused.


Criminal Minds: (Last post was at Season 1, Episode 6; Now through Season 1, Episode 18). 
I am really enjoying this, partly because I have seen all of these before, and while I do not remember the entire plot for each episode, I remember enough of it to be really interested in each episode. Again, I am enjoying watching the character's develop and track who and what Derek tackles along the way.
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Yes, I am still doing resumes and other writing projects.

In fact, now is a vary good time.

Details here.
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Blue Bloods: I started watching on Hulu, then realized it was  still airing on CBS. I am caught up through the end of the fifth season, but there are gaps in the middle I have not seen. (I will figure that out at some point). I love this show, especially the juxtaposition between Danny Reagan and Hank Voight from Chicago PD. (And other characters as well). You accept in watching this show that it's a morality tale. How can it not be when one of the main scenes in every show is Sunday dinner? It makes me feel guilty I did not eat with my family more often. Yes, again you need to suspend disbelief, but hey, it is a TV show. Tom Selleck is masterful, and even the minor characters have developed and show excellent acting.

Night Shift: I had absolutely no intention of watching this show, then I flipped it on one night and I was hooked. Probably a lot less known than any of the other medical dramas. This one is set in San Antonio, not one of your typical television-set cities, and they use that pretty well. The hook is that many of the docs and nurses are ex-military and some are dealing with flashbacks and PTSD. There is a very strong gay character, an extremely strong and good-looking guy, whose partner (maybe husband by now) lost a leg overseas. My wife is amused because it is such a soap-opera story line, even more so than many of the other shows of its type. So many things happen that you are pushed to the edge of believability, but I enjoy it.

Blacklist: Blame this one on the Super Bowl. I was working that night, watched the end of the game, then got pulled into this show, which I had avoided before. I had no idea what it was about. This episode, which was a new one, featured Ron Perlman, who you will see I am absolutely fascinated by. Once I saw a couple scenes with James Spader, I knew I had to go back and see some previous episodes. This is one of those shows that is definitely driven by a single star. There are some other great performances, and it is a compelling story with a lot of twists, but Spader just shines in this. I had never really noticed him before, but wow is he amazing in this show. I think I have watched most or all of Season 2, and maybe parts of Season 1. I am looking forward to the next season, though if you watch it, you know the tone and focus are likely to change in September.

Sons of Anarchy: OK, this is really odd. I have listed a dozen TV shows I have been watching and now I get to the one I had been watching most intently until I started up with Criminal Minds this week. I have watched most of Seasons 1 and 2 and at times, I am completely blown away by this show. I have done a lot of reading about it as well, and some of the background is really amazing. I mentioned Ron Perlman earlier, and he absolutely makes this show. I have never seen an actor use a prop (his cigar) the way Perlman does. It's an extension of him. You want to walk soap opera? This is soap opera with several sides of torture and murder. I finally had to stop watching late in Season 2, because there was just too much violence and too many secrets. 

There is something else about shows like Sons of Anarchy, which have run for a long time and are now finished. There's a lot of documentation out there about the show and in fact I know what happens in the end. Some of the stuff in between, that I know is going to happen, sounds really depressing.

That said, this is a great show. One of the things I like about committing to a show over several seasons is that you get to see the characters develop. At first, it was Clay, Jax and the rest of the Sons. After a while, I began to see the different members and what their roles were. Female roles are important, but problematic at times.

I remain unsure when/if I will go back to watching it.
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Blue bloods is good? I love it 
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Bill Toscano

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OK, so I am writing.

This is a combination of several things. I am out of work on short-term disability because of pneumonia, which I am recovering from, and congestive heart failure, which I am trying to shake.

As much as I would like to do some part-time work for the paper I work for, I can't do that.

What I can do is watch a lot of TV shows on the Internet, and I can write about those.

I grew up watching TV, but I have not had typical cable TV for the last eight years. I continued to pay attention to some things, but didn't watch a lot of others.

Over the last year or so, maybe a little longer, I have discovered streaming shows on the Internet (yes, I am a Luddite), and there are others like West Wing I have watched on DVD.

Anyway, I love sharing ideas, so here are some thoughts on some of the shows I have been watching.

A caveat: Some spoilers are definitely going to slide into these summaries, so be forewarned about that. There will not be a lot, and some of these shows have been around more than a decade, so I would expect you know some things.
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I've been re-watching the original Star Trek series.  It's free on Amazon Prime.  It's worth it because the episodes restore all the material that was cut when then episodes were shown on TV.
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So the doc basically said, "You are still sick. Stay home. Rest."

Happy, happy. Joy, joy.

Talk to me, please?
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The doc forget the "twisted and warped?"
Sounds like it's time for "Projects From the Recliner"
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Open Question Monday.

I am stuck at home recovering.

This is your chance to ask me anything.

Even if you don't know me. ;)
Go!
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What book should I read next? 
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Bill Toscano

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This will bring us up current to shows I am watching or have been watching. Again, possible spoilers.


NCIS: Like Criminal Minds, I have watched a lot of NCIS, but there are some seasons missing as well. I do distinctly remember the first episode (but I initially missed the crossover with JAG, another show I really like).

Anyway, this one has been around 12 seasons now, and I am pretty sure I have seen more than half the episoides. I still loathe Tony, even though he is a little less sexist than he used to be. He is still a dick. It's interesting how in the most recent season they are trying to humanize him with his father. Problem is, I find his father incredibly annoying as well. 

I like NCIS best when there's an arc going on. The one-off episodes do not hold my attention the way the arc episodes do, even if there is non-arc stuff going on. There are times I feel the characters are somewhat static through the 12 seasons. There's not a lot of character development. There are some character changes, sure. but I am not feeling like there's been the kind of growth you see in other shows. Sure, I love Abby, but she hasn't really changed very much.

If anyone has developed, it's McGee, but I am not always sure I like the direction. I also felt it was kind of cheesy for him to fall in love with Delilah, then have her get paralyzed. Some of their following interactions were pretty awkward.

I watched a lot of Season 12, and I felt like it was really dragging. My understanding is it picks up in the final episodes, so I will have to go back and watch those.

NCIS New Orleans: Here's another I watched from the beginning, and I am absolutely loving it. I did see the two-part crossover with NCIS, and I liked it from the beginning. I am a big Scott Bakula fan, and I adore the way Lucas Black plays LaSalle, right down to him having been the Alabama mascot in college. Sebastian, however, is the Jar-Jar Binks of the show, and Patton Plame (wheelchair guy) is almost as annoying. CCH Pounder is a great actress (I have watched some Warehouse 13, though in the early episodes of W13 we do not see enough of her. Brody's not really developed yet, but I did like the focus on her at midseason. I don't know if LaSalle's brother really adds a lot. I will say this, just as NCIS itself was wearing thin on me, I watched the last few episodes of NCIS: New Orleans and it seemed so much more interesting, active and fresh.  I didn't like what happened at the end, and I will be interested to see what the fallout will be. (Note: I have never watched very much of NCIS: Los Angeles at all. It just seems like a bit much, and I am having trouble wrapping my head around Linda Hunt in the Gibbs/Pride role.)

Chicago Fire: I jumped into this in the middle of the second season and have seen pretty much everything since then. I need to go back and see the first season, but I sometimes find that hard to do. Yes, this is another soap opera set in, well a firehouse in this case. I will address the crossover aspect of the show under Chicago PD, but I do think that's a major strength here. This show, like a number of other lately, doesn't seem to have an issue killing off major characters and working the story line from there. t makes me a little nervous when I start to get to like a character. Again, like many of these types of shows, you have as many major incidents in a single show as a real-world place would have in six months or a year. But that's part of the suspension of disbelief. I feel this show does a great job when it comes to conflicts and tension among the characters. I will be interested to see how things developin the next season.

Chicago PD: Another show that started as a crossover from another, this time with Hank Vought establishing his bad guy credentials in a couple episodes with Chicago Fire. (I do know any other shows that crossover the way these two do, and it's been pretty cool to see Law & Order: SVU pop in there, too. (And apparently Chicago Med is on the horizon for the fall, but we will have a lot of competition in that ER-type category.)

Back to Chicago PD:  One of the things I love about this show is that you do not have typical "TV Tropes" characters, starting with Voight himself. The whole show spins around him playing fast and loose with the rules and his colleagues trying to figure out just how fast and loose they can be. Trudy Platt is a highlight for me, and he portrayal of the desk sergeant (or charge nurse in hospital series) is the best I have seen. You get the idea that she knows every officer inside and out and what is best for him or her. She can be a bit brusque, but she reacts in an apologetic way fairly quickly. Antonio looked interesting at first, but he has flattened out. I do get tired of all of the intramural hookups on this show. Olinsky seems to be going through some development, and I am waiting to see Roman break out. The Nadia story line, while not always believable, was both heart-warming and heartbreaking. I did not like the outcome. Finally, we come to Erin, who has had the most ups and downs and appears to be one of the focal points for the next season. Finally, I will say I enjoy the show (and Chicago PD) when there are extensive crossovers.
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Bill Toscano

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So what blogs are people reading these days?
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Also, I highly recommend going back and reading the archives of Roger Ebert's blog if you weren't reading it prior to his death.  He has amazing things to say about living with serious illness, as well as about movies and culture.
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Thoughts on TV shows, Part II.

Zoo:  I had read the James Patterson book, so I was really interested in watching this. I like the changes they made. I am not used to watching current TV. It's been a long time, so the idea of having to wait (and find ways to watch it) is hard. But this is definitely interesting/ Lots of twists. I am through Season 1, Episode 5.

The Last Ship: I read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction, but I had never read William Brinkley's book. I am glad now that I didn't because, like Zoo, the min-series is very different book. 
It's also one of the best TV series I have ever seen. The twist at the end of Season 1 was amazing.
Things slowed a little at the start of Season 2, but I am at now through Season 2, Episode 5. I will definitely keep watching this.

Gotham: This is the third show in a row that I have started from the beginning. That is not very usual for me, because we went so long without broadcast television. I am not a huge Batman geek, but I love what they have done with this show. I think the key to watching this version of the Batman story is being able to suspend your disbelief and make no assumptions about the future. (I learned this from the Star Trek reboot. That was hard to do, but I learned a lot from it.) Again, I am enjoying the twists, and there have been a lot of cool twists. I am looking forward to seeing it develop.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: I guess I have been starting a lot of series from the beginning lately. I was totally hooked until the first break, then my interest really dropped off. I am not sure why. I picked it up enough to get through the end of the first season, but I have not really been watching it since. I didn't make it through a single episode of Agent Carter, which is odd, because I thought I would like it.
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Criminal Minds: So I am pretty well caught up through the end of the current season, so I decided to drop back on Netflix and watch Season 1, Episode 1: "Extreme Aggressor."

I have a difficult relationship with Criminal Minds. I will watch it for a while, then get freaked out, then go back to it later. I have watched much of it already, but the old stuff was a long time ago, so there are pieces I remember and pieces I don't.

Immediate thoughts on the first episode: I didn't realize Morgan didn't trust Gideon at first. He is very negative. (He also quotes Yoda). Reid is really geeky, more so than usual. It was odd to see all men from the team going into the FBI office at first.

I didn't realize just how central Gideon's character was from Day One. It must have been hard for the writers to make the adjustment.
I also noticed the use of music right up front. This is the first show I really noticed the effective use of music.
It will be interesting to watch Penelope develop.
This is the first time I have watched something on Netflix. I love not having commercials.

Binging through Season 1, Episode 3 now. Love the focus on Gideon. I do love having watched the show before, because you can anticipate some of the clues, etc.

Addendum: Through Season 1, Episode 6 now. All in one day.
Definitely changes the way your brain processes information.
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I have known for months that I would have to miss Pennsic this year, for the first time since the early 1990s. It's always been a major part of my summer, but health problems earlier this year wiped out part of the vacation, and recent issues would have kept me home anyway.

I think today (middle Sunday) is the day I miss the most.

I usually take about 150 pictures at opening ceremonies, and it looks like it was a gorgeous day.

Champions battles always get the excitement going, and today's were followed by the knighting of my good friend Sir Ketil.

There would have been tea and scones in the afternoon, the party in remembrance of Ashley Fraser is going on now, and who knows what kind of shenanigans I could have gotten into tonight.

For all those there, please have a little extra fun for me.
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Yeah that "bad location" has really worked out well for 20+ years   :-)
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Tuesday afternoon update: 

Bringing everyone up to date.

I was in the hospital with pneumonia, then congestive heart failure, July 13-23. 

I have been home since. I went out Saturday morning, to the coffee shop and the grocery store, and was wiped out.

Today, I have been up since 8 a.m. I wrote an article, did an events schedule, then picked up a bit.

Went out to doctor's office, the grocery store (yes, I am on Prednisone), then the library. I am now home.

Talk to me.
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I tried belly dancing Saturday night after getting sunburned at an outdoor ren/sca swap. Hurt my back and abs. Have been pushing thru the pain w tylenol and advil, running errands and napping daily in the broiling heat.
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Reporter/Editor, Glens Falls Post-Star
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  • Manchester Newspapers
    Associate Editor, 2010 - present
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Glens Falls, NY - Westerly, RI - Ledyard, Conn. - Peabidy, Mass.
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Teacher, newspaper editor and the nexus of the Liamverse.
Introduction
Hey, all.

The Liamverse meets Google+

I am equal portions Liam St. Liam, a loud voice of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and Bill Toscano earnest daily newspaper writer and editor in upstate New York.
Education
  • Westerly High School
    Having fun, 1973 - 1977
  • University of Rhode Island
    Journalism, 1977 - 1980
  • Connecticut College
    History/Education, 1990 - 1991
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Liam St. Liam