Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Peculiarities of Procedurals.

I have a weakness for procedural crime shows. They are comfortingly predictable; a murder happens at the beginning, and then a team of policemen and forensics experts solve the crime. The shows are more fantasy than mystery, because despite their inherent violence, they reassure viewers that the terrors of the world can be resolved in about 45 minutes.

But when the show isn’t set in a major city, the level of crime that occurs on a weekly basis becomes implausible. Years ago, this very complaint was made about “Murder She Wrote”, where eventually, the only possible explanation for the high number of murders in such a small town was that the sweet, crime solving mystery writer played by Angela Lansbury, was a serial killer.

So it is with the BBC’s “Inspector Lewis Mysteries”. It is set in Oxford, a city whose gothic spires and dramatic arches have housed a fantastic legacy of writers and artists. The alma mater of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Lewis Carroll, the dining hall at its Christchurch college was more recently used as the set for main dining hall of Hogwarts.

But according to “Inspector Lewis”, Oxford is also a place that is rife with murderous professors and psychopathic students. It’s a wonder that any parent would be okay sending their kids there; If the statistics of the show were true, Oxford would be the most dangerous university in the world.

While my university was in a much less idyllic setting, I don’t recall even one professor being arrested for murder, or even accused of a felony. Unless you consider being terminally boring a crime.

Which it is. But not one for which you can be arrested.

Of course it might be entertaining to find a mystery solving team to apprehend and punish someone who is accused of being terminally boring. What sentence is appropriate for the guy at the bar nattering on about his golf score? Perhaps he should be chained to the woman who won’t stop talking about her latest diet? Or is this cruel and unusual punishment for the both of them?

The answer to that last question can be the basis of the spinoff show “Petty Crime Lawyers: justice for banal, first world problems.”

I imagine the setting could be anywhere where the over privileged exist, making it perfect for multi national franchising.



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Spa-ing out the old…

Well happy new year! (Insert trite observation about time flying and post holiday slump)
I’ve managed to exit the old year by being at a resort with my family in Austria.

Yeah I know. Believe me when I tell you that I do not treat this with the casualness typing such a sentence would imply. It really feels more like this:


This whole experience was quite amazing. Full spa facilities with a rather confusing array of rooms and recommended experiences. Services such as facials and massages cost extra, but all the spa facilities, were free.

There was a salt aromatic steambath, tiled in glossy white, and outfitted with little LED lights that made me feel a bit like I was in a very damp, small nightclub, one where occasionally, there were gigantic, naked, middle aged men staring mutely into the distance, glazed from the heat.

So you know, a typical Tuesday.*

There was also a non salted aromatic steam room that was hotter and smaller, making the avoidance of eye contact with naked strangers much more difficult. It also had a bunch of buttons. But since I don’t read German, and couldn’t see without my glasses(glasses being useless in a steam room), I was reluctant to push any of them. See, the day before, I had used one of their showers which featured a standard handheld spout, as well as a waterfall, freshwater “falling rain”styles, and for some reason, a hose. I accidentally turned them all on at once. Since they were all on timers, I couldn’t turn any of them off, and simply had to stand there, being thoroughly showered in all directions, only one of them which was warm.

There were also two dry saunas, one at 60 and one at 100 Celsius. Being American, and apparently the only people in the world, who use Fahrenheit, this was meaningless to me, and all I needed to understand was which one was less hot. (The 60) The recommendation is that after a dry sauna or wet steam, you dunk yourself in the cold water pool to cool off. Apparently this has health benefits, but I wasn’t brave enough to try it past my knees.

Which I immediately couldn’t feel after dunking them into the cold water.

New discovery: after heat, ducking into cold, cold water, your feet get immediate pins and needles. I have no idea if this is part of the health benefits or simply a reassuring sign that your circulation works.

I never did figure out if a steam/ jacuzzi regimen alleviates jet lag, or simply makes you so relaxed that you don’t care. But random, naked old men aside, it’s pretty great.**

*the saunas are coed. Many European and Asian societies have a public bath/sauna culture and thus, nudity does not have a prurient edge to it. But I’m American, so intellectualizing it doesn’t keep it from weirding me out. Telling yourself over and over again “don’t be weird about the naked people, don’t be weird about the naked people” simply makes you radiate weirdness about naked people.

**No judgement if random naked old men are your thing.

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