Thursday, August 5, 2010

Savoring the Moment: Quandries of Shark Week

Talk about savoring moments.

I had a great night last night- a "family dinner" of sorts with my favorite guy friends. I can't remember the last time all of us hung out together, and it was especially nice to actually sit at a table like civilized people.

Kid Brother made the most fantastic ribs. All he would tell me is that they took six hours to cook and involved cans of chipolte peppers. (My spell checker just wanted to turn "chipolte" into "Chippewa" which made me think of "Addams Family II: Family Values" for some reason. You know....the summer camp? I digress.) Lee made delicious rice and beans, and I contributed a green salad. Because I am, apparently, the mom of the group. Josh, who had to come a bit late, brought the witty conversation. was a lovely evening with much to savor. I spend so much of my time these days with girls, it was nice to be around a bunch of guys for a change.

After dinner, as we all sat around with full bellies nursing beer and wine, there was a moment of clamoring excitement when Kid Brother reminded us that it is, in fact, Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. It was then that I was introduced to "Air Shark," and not only was I introduced to the concept of "Air Shark," I was getting the full experience because it was actually "Air Shark II: EVEN HIGHER."

I kid you not.

First of all, because my guy friends have excellent taste, I'd like to point out that we were listening to Band of Horses at the time. The TV was on mute. And there is something paradoxically hilarious about watching "Air Shark II: EVEN HIGHER" with Band of Horses as the soundtrack. Even funnier: after BOH, Lee's roommate put on Ray Lamontagne. Also paradoxically funny.

But I digress again: let us discuss the concept of "Air Shark." A miniature seal is fashioned out of foam and painted to look incredibly life-like, then dragged behind a power boat on a piece of fishing line that looks as though it wouldn't hold up through a strenuous flossing of teeth. Cameras are poised at the stern of the boat dragging it, and also positioned under the boat for the extra-special UNDERWATER VIEW. The crew then chums the water with bloody fish bits, and waits.

Sooner or later, a shark roughly the size of a church bus comes leaping out of the water, jaws out, coming after this poor helpless foam seal. It is not pretty.

But it is, as the chorus of exclamations in Lee's living room ascertained, AWESOME.

Being the only female, I naturally had to question the validity of such an experiment beyond it's "AWESOME"- factor. What's the point of this endeavour? To show how sharks can do little else besides churn ominously through sea water and tear crap apart? How is this encouraging eco-knowledge? By intimidating us into respecting a shark's hunting prowess enough to want to save them? Sure, they're impressive. Sure, they're huge and a vital part of the eco-system. But to videotape them leaping twenty feet out of the water and ripping apart a foam seal (that is just WAY TOO LIFELIKE for my sensibilities) doesn't seem a particularly productive form of study.


Still...gotta respect the hunting master. It's a pretty epic feat of nature to watch these things jump out of the water like that. It just seems a little....the phrase "baiting sport" comes to mind. They get the sharks all riled up, film it, and then what? Toss the dolly grip overboard to placate the angry mob? Throw some baby seals and watch the action?


It was awesome to see my friends, awesome to sit and eat delicious ribs and talk about current events and, yes, gossip (because even guys like to partake) and we ended the entire evening with some karaoke which is always the icing on the proverbial Wednesday night cake. My urban family is everything to me, and spending quality time with them is very far up there on the list of things that make me oh-so-very-happy.

And, I'll totally admit it: "Air Shark II: EVEN HIGHER" was pretty badass. I totally recommend it with a side of Ray Lamontagne, too. And some hilarious commentary from brilliant friends.

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