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Zeke 12-29-2010 10:45 AM

December 28: Five-Minute Breaking Bad
Merry Christmas! And welcome back, so to speak. You've probably been wondering where I disappeared to when our tenth-anniversary celebration seemed to be going so well. And indeed, it was. I was having a great time with the event, and I was determined not to go MIA for once unless something truly huge came up.

Well, as it turned out, something did. I got accepted to the PhD program in pure math at my alma mater, Carleton University. I'm absolutely thrilled to be back in academia -- but when you've been away for a couple of years, transferring all your mental energy from potential to kinetic is hard work. And while I wanted to get the site back on track, getting my <i>career</i> back on track was a much higher priority. I was even too busy to update on my birthday, which I really like doing. (I'll have to settle for today being the 28th, which is the age I turned. Sigh.)

Don't get the wrong idea -- I'm not quitting RL just had to come first for a while. And if it has to do so again, it will. That's the deal. But right now, I'm finally in a position to ease the site back into my regimen.

XAW will resume next update. Before that, though, I've got something special for you. Not only is this a fiver for a show we've never so much as mentioned here, it's also written in a way I've never tried before. It is...

<b><a href="../tv/breakingbad.html">Five-Minute <i>Breaking Bad</i></a></b> (the pilot episode)

I decided to check out the show recently since I'd heard good things about it (suspiciously good things; it was setting off my overhype alarms). By the third scene or so, I was getting so many fiver ideas I had to start writing them down. And I wound up going through the whole episode this way, watching a few scenes at a time and then fiving them. It's the first fiver I've ever written completely blind -- not just unfamilar with the show, but unaware even what would happen next.

It's an experiment. For a show about chemistry, I figure that's appropriate. You'll probably get more out of it if you've seen the episode, but what else is new? Enjoy!

Derek 12-29-2010 01:11 PM


Boss: Hey Walter, go lug some more needlessly heavy cleaning solution to
Walter: Know what? Know what? I quit! Get your own damn solution!
Boss: Geez. What'd I do to precipitate that?
Boss is just lucky he wasn't assalted.

Great fiver, Zeke. Haven't seen the show (though I've heard it talked up as well). Did you like it?

Oh, and congrats on the Doctoral program! And happy birthday!

Nate the Great 12-29-2010 07:19 PM

I'm just passing by to stamp my "acknowledge I was here" timecard...

Move along, nothing to see here...

Sa'ar Chasm 12-29-2010 08:15 PM


Pinkman: Are you sure? This is really kind of a crummy job. The hours are crazy, people hate you, you can blow yourself up if you're not careful...
Walter: Believe me, none of that is new to me.
Speaking as a chemistry educator...HAH!


Walter: Chemistry! Chemistry is life and death! It is the air we breathe and the water we drink! It is all aspects of the very world around... why aren't you kids paying attention?
Student: Why do you give this same speech every morning?
Shaddap, kid, chemistry is awesome. Now slog your way through this ICE chart and accompanying quadratic equation.


THree Weeks EarLier
(Most Viewers: Huh?)
Hydrogen, Tungsten, Lithium? I suppose it could be a tungsten hydride of some sort.

Nice job, Zeke, although I couldn't follow half of what was going on since I haven't actually seen the show.

NAHTMMM 12-31-2010 03:00 AM

Congratulations, Zeke! :D


Party Guests: SURPRISE!
Walter: Honey, you know how I showed you that study about people dying of heart attacks on large birthdays? Remember what the key correlating factor was?
Skyler: When you were one hour late, I still cared about that. After three, I stopped.

Walter: What the ? That was Pinkman! I'd know that flamenco soundtrack anywhere!

Thug: Ha ha, look at that crutch kid. The crutches mean he's stupid. And a nerd. They're for holding up his big stupid nerd brain. Furthermore
Walter: *kicks him from behind*
Thug: OW! My logical arguments! You defeated them with your adult violence!
*cumulative snerk*


Gun: *click*
Walter: Oh, so now I get good at Russian roulette.
This deserves to be a sig line.

Nate the Great 03-08-2011 11:44 PM

*Tap tap tap* Is this thing on?

An update is needed, Z. Schoolwork more than you were expecting? Just joined an exciting new club? Got a new girlfriend? What?

Zeke 03-09-2011 02:20 AM

School, mostly. Though I feel like I'm making a bad joke even saying that, because while I'm busy with school, I'm not nearly busy <i>enough</i> -- I got slaughtered on my midterm today. Anyway, I'll see what I can do. There's some material around that's ready or close to it, and wouldn't be much work to post.

Nate the Great 04-01-2011 02:27 PM

No April Fools event? You are busy.

Nate the Great 05-09-2011 05:55 PM

Erm, Tenth Anniversary Year?

evay 05-10-2011 02:56 PM

Why not? It's easier on the eyes than the anime screen was.

Zeke 07-16-2012 03:22 AM

Season five of Breaking Bad premiered yesterday, so I took the opportunity to advertise this fiver. (I also whipped up a new image for the page.)

While I'm here, a couple of things I meant to answer before...



THree Weeks EarLier
(Most Viewers: Huh?)
Hydrogen, Tungsten, Lithium? I suppose it could be a tungsten hydride of some sort.
It's a reference to how they do the credits in the show. Each name has at least one elemental symbol emphasized; the main cast are <b>Br</b>yan Cranston, An<b>Na</b> Gunn, A<b>Ar</b>on Paul, and so on. It's cute, but I'm betting at least half the audience doesn't get it.


Haven't seen the show (though I've heard it talked up as well). Did you like it?
Yes and no. I'm halfway through Season 2 so far; it's very good television, no question, but I don't really <i>enjoy</i> watching it. The heart of the show is Walt and the path his decisions lead him down. Apparently the writers' goal was to start with him sympathetic and make him gradually less so. Didn't work for me -- I <i>despise</i> Walt, and have from day one. He's like the Platonic ideal of dealing with your problems wrong. His noble goal of making enough money to support his family justifies everything: hurting people with the drugs he makes, keeping Pinkman stuck in a life he wants to escape, rejecting friends' kindness, kidnapping and killing people, telling lies within lies within lies... and most pathetic of all, driving away the very family he's doing it all for. He's using what little remains of his own life to make everyone else's hell.

I still have a couple of seasons to catch up on, so my opinion may change. But I've never related to Walt -- and I'm appalled at the idea that I should.

evay 07-16-2012 12:57 PM

Yeah, the show never appealed to me from the beginning. There are, surprisingly, enough powerful, well-written, well-acted, well-produced TV shows out there which don't involve breaking the law and making people suffer as part of the show's premise that Breaking Bad never even caught my potential interest. I don't care how much praise it gets; I'm not going to watch.

Leverage started S5 last night too, and that's a helluva lot more fun. I believe Alphas and Warehouse 13 start their seasons either tonight or next Monday, Merlin S5 comes on in the fall, Once Upon a Time and Person of Interest were both renewed for S2, we still have to finish the entire back half of Grimm... We have enough to watch. Hell, I even finally picked up Doctor Who after being nagged by my best friend for two years, so we'll start watching that at some point this summer.

Sa'ar Chasm 07-16-2012 04:01 PM


I still have a couple of seasons to catch up on, so my opinion may change. But I've never related to Walt -- and I'm appalled at the idea that I should.
People keep telling me "You're a chemist, you should watch it." Here's the thing...most science on TV makes my degree hurt. I don't watch CSI because I'd be screaming "Wrong!" and throwing things at the TV within five minutes. Plus I don't really go in for angsty drama, people doing dumb things, and drug dealers.

Same deal with Glee: You like music and karaoke, you should watch Glee. First, most of the music I like predates my birth, so any current pop songs they do will be lost on me. Second, teen drama angst.

Zeke 07-16-2012 07:35 PM

Two plus points that I forgot to mention are the acting and dialogue. I never get tired of watching Aaron Paul as Pinkman -- his mixture of biting sarcasm and utter dumbassness can make even horrific scenes entertaining. (During a fight over who has to kill a witness: "Oh well, heil Hitler, bitch! And let me tell you something else. We flipped a coin, okay? You and me. You and me! Coin flip is sacred! Your job is waiting for you in that basement, as per the coin!") The DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank, is a lot of fun too; he's coarse but has a really good heart, to the point where Walt, who's at great risk having him around, still clearly likes him. And while I dislike Walt, the many viewers who praise Bryan Cranston's acting will get no argument from me.

The chemistry content of the show is mostly trivia, but sometimes Walt puts his knowledge to practical use for more than just making meth. Where other criminals would just hack off a lock or shoot it, he'll use hydrofluoric acid or thermite or something. The best example is <a href="">this awesome scene</a>.

Sa'ar: Oh, NOW someone mentions Glee. I was really into the show around the time I started that "what other shows should we do" thread, and I was secretly hoping someone would suggest it. It's pretty cheesy and pushes its agenda way too blatantly, but it's lots of fun too.

My actual <i>favourite</i> shows right now are How I Met Your Mother and Parks & Recreation, but fivers of those would be redundant.

[ETA: Hmm, a link to this fiver is now kicking around Facebook, but I can't tell where it originates. What I really need is to get it on StumbleUpon -- several of our fivers get frequent visits from there. Most frequent? Five-Minute Sailor Moon, believe it or not. 138 likes!]

[EETA: Turns out you can add a few links to your own site on StumbleUpon, just not too many. I've added this. We'll see what happens...]

Alexia 07-31-2012 02:10 PM

Me again, swinging by and reading about two previous posts to vaguely work out what's going on.

Four words: The Big Bang Theory.

I've been watching it solidly (save for the annoying times I need to work and sleep) for three weeks and am almost done with the first four series. It's brilliant :D

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