I know, I know….I said I would write one of these blogs each week…and well lets just say I haven’t completely fulfilled that commitment. I never knew this parenting thing would take up so much time.

So really if you want to blame someone, blame my daughter. She is 18 months old, what the hell else does she need from me, right? I’m pretty sure I have already taught her everything I know. Everything.

Then there’s my wife….I barely have time to breath after all the things she expects out of me. Things like, showering, eating actual food and even getting out of bed…The nerve.

Of course don’t forget society…Don’t even get me started on those unrealistic expectations!

Anyway, in between all of the hectic demands on my plate I have been able to write a couple things. I started to write some entertainment articles at the site http://www.newsforshoppers.com . They have tons of insightful articles on a range of topics, plus many features with helpful tips for consumers.

Assuming you can pull yourself away from all of life’s insanity, check out my first article here:

http://www.newsforshoppers.com/superheroes-wage-war-dc-vs-marvel-spills-over-into-tv/36726462/

Thanks for the support – Be back soon….Hopefully. Jay Follow – @FredThePeacock

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Picture this : I am hard at work on my “husband to-do-list”, aimlessly moving things from one end of the basement to the other, blaring 90s rock in the background and somehow thinking I am making progress. I think to myself, ‘it’s a little damp down here’. My head spins around and I my eyes catch sight of the dehumidifier in the corner. I think to myself, ‘well, my wife is going to ask my anyway’…so I climb over what was once the pool table (now a home to various boxes, tools, and useless man toys). I make my way over the comic long boxes, still hoping my wife doesn’t really know how many are down here. I am in reach of the dehumidifier when I straddle a dishevelled cat post and stretch my hand past every single item we thought we needed in the moment but ultimately decided it would be best suited to be in a corner of the basement for the past seven years. Once I got past our past discretions and swung my leg over, I had both hands on the dehumidifier and smiled as if I was Indiana Jones replacing an idol with a bag of dirt. That euphoric moment quickly turned into Indy in a pit of snakes as I lifted the machine, took a step, cat ran by, tripped me and the long promised dehumidifier (which had to weigh 50 – 60lbs if I am being realistic, 80-90lbs if I am being hyperbolic). It fell. All of the weight landed directly on my big toe. That toe shattered like the hopes and dreams of all the children who have ever had hopes and dreams. Then was a long moment of disbelief followed by a long silent scream.

Have you ever broke a toe? It leads to the most magical dance, as you call upon the the spirits of the hopping, toe stubbing gods to make the pain go away. When that fails you start breathing like a overly expressive woman in labour, as if you are going to suck the broken bone through your body and spit it out your mouth and grow a new one like an earthworm without a head. Finally, when all else fails you result to little league softball triage as you walk around in circles quoting your coach in your head – “walk it off…walk it off”. Then when you realize your little league coach was an idiot, you walk upstairs and tell your wife that you are also an idiot.

I went three days without medical assistance, because, yes I am that much of a badass. In case you forgot I had a broken frickin’ toe. In this time the toe had filled with blood, nail was black and green, and my ability to put weight on that foot was seriously lacking. So I sucked up my none existent toughness and drove myself to the hospital.

Now before I talk about my hospital experience, let me note that I am in Canada. Being a Canadian I am entitled to free health care. Trust me, I know how lucky I am. When I bitch about my treatment, please forgive my ironic tone as I recount my experience. Regardless of my thoughts of my medical treatment I know am and head and hands above the majority of the world and am grateful for it and do not take it lightly. That being said, it is all I know and while it might make me a worldwide jackass, I still invoke my privileged right to bitch.

I drove to the hospital at 10pm on a weekday, thinking it would be slow. I sat down in triage and noted the sign above me that said the triage nurse will see me within ten minutes of arrival. Forty minutes later I saw the triage nurse. She concurred the blackened toe was broken and they would need to take an x-ray. I was then regulated back to the waiting room. In said room I watched children walk in with heads busted open, rednecks with missing thumbs and elderly ladies who “thought the end was near“. Now I wasn`t sure if she was just talking about her own lifespan, or perhaps she was a prophet and was doing us the kindness of letting us know that we were about to shuffle off this mortal coil. Either way, as I surveyed the room I realized my swollen, discoloured appendage was pretty far down the totem pole. I got up, limped my way out of the land of misfit toys and drove home.

I returned the next morning. Thinking that even injured people must have jobs, my wait would be shorter. I was incorrect. After thirty minutes the triage nurse said I needed x-rays. Thanks. Back to waiting room. One hour. Nurse calls my name and the name of ten other patients. We are taken to a different waiting room called the “green zone“. We were not give an explanation, but I found myself trying to remember the plot of a Matt Damon movie I may or may not have seen. One hour. Nurse calls my name. I am in am in a room! I have traded ten year old magazines for tongue depressors and gauze. One hour. Doctor comes in. He tells me I need an x-ray. Yep, thanks. I am told to wait for nurse to arrange said x-ray. Thirty Minutes. Nurse comes in and asked me to limp to x-ray. Sure. Guess what? X-ray has a waiting room! Thirty Minutes…..Alright this has dragged on long enough, I won`t test your patience as mine was….Lets just say I waited a while longer before I saw a doctor again. Guess what? Toe broken. The doctor then proceeds to drill four holes in the nail of my big toe to drain the blood. Did I mention that the slightest touch to my toe hurt like a blazing branding iron on a sunburn? Cue hyperventilating pregnant woman.

Three days and six hours later I have a diagnosed broken toe that is still as ugly as a toothless hooker on a Sunday morning, and a limp to rival Terry Fox (Yah! Canadian pop culture reference!). One thing has changed. Painkillers. I now had them. And then I had beer. And then……Wait…What was I talking about?

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Did you ever end a day thinking, ‘gee, that’s really not how I thought today was going to go’. I had one of those days recently. One of those life altering events happened to me. You know the kind, the ones that always happen to someone else, but never to you. Not as serious as cancer or getting hit by a bus full of choir students doing there best rendition of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World. Yes, it wasn’t that bad, but it was worse than farting in a library or calling out the wrong name during sex. So what is left on the list of things that always happen to someone else…how about “being let go”…Yes, I have recently found myself unemployed, by no fault of my own mind you. Apparently I was expendable (and not the cool Stallone badass kind). Now, I have a point of contention with this, as I find myself quite pendable. Though of course, I was not consulted on the decision. You think I would have a say…nope. So after I heard the news,had a few drinks, smoked a few cigarettes (and I was doing so well….) told my wife, had a few more drinks….I sat on the edge of my bed and thought to myself…’gee, that’s really not how I thought today was going to go’.

I now find myself in an interesting position. I find myself in the long line of people who have found themselves unemployed over the last couple years. Everyday previous, I got up kissed my wife and daughter goodbye and left for work. Would you like to know what I did the day after my employment status was deemed expendable? Nothing….Or as close to it as humanly possible (turns out if you actually do nothing, you actually die). I resided myself not to think about the previous days events, and enjoy a nice, relaxing day with my family. It wasn’t easy, and in retrospect I probably failed miserably, but I did my best to let the rage and sadness go, if only for a few hours. I sat on the edge of my bed that night and thought to myself… ‘gee, today was a lot better than yesterday.’

Do you know what I did the day after my nothing day? I freaked the fuck out. I don’t have a job. You know a job…? The thing that keeps lights on, paid for the laptop that is writing this, fed the dog and daughter, (the former who could actually stand to lose a few pounds). The job that gave me somewhere to go everyday, made me responsible for something outside my family and established me as a functional member of the community. Most importantly it was the job that allowed my wife to stay home and do the much more difficult job or raising our child. All those things that were seemingly fine yesterday, are now in jeopardy, because of the job….Or lack thereof.

You know what the really funny thing is…I mean besides the thought of me walking into a dark, decrepit basement doubling as a black market hospital, carrying my own kidney in a styrofoam cooler with a six-pack on top to keep it cold…The REALLY funny thing is I didn’t even like the job to begin with. Actually I hated it. Actually I thought it was sucking out my soul through a crazy straw. But I did it for years. And I did it well. I did it for all the reasons above. It did it because it gave me the ability to take care of the things that were really important. I don’t regret that one bit, it was worth it. If circumstances were different I would still be there, because what it afforded me far outweighed what it took from me.

The circumstances aren’t different. My life has changed, and all elements affected due to the decision of someone I probably have never met.Now what? Another job, that’s the easy answer. Work my way back up. The problem is I tend to take jobs I can do well, but don’t necessarily want to do. That’s life I suppose. I am sure the majority doesn’t get to do what they really want. And I am sure a great number of people do jobs they hate, simply because it is necessary. My problem is that I don’t really know what I want and my fear is there isn’t something I really want. I feel that my professional life will be filled with jobs of necessity rather than personal gratification. That being said, I like to believe that a capable, driven person with reasonable goals can achieve them through will and tenacity. Coming up with the goal is the hard part…Ok maybe the ‘reasonable’ goal is the hard part. I am guessing that a world revered cat burglar with a high moral code, quick wit and a dashing smile is unreasonable? Do you have a better suggestion? I would settle if someone would pay me to do this, but that doesn’t seem to be happening either…Unless you are reading this and you want to pay me to write self indulging, occasional funny, often repetitive dribble…In that case, may I ask, how do you take your coffee?

Maybe I should get used to that question.

I don’t really know where I am going. Remember back in school when they asked you what you wanted to do? Teacher, doctor, lawyer, lion tamer….none of them really seem to fit. I’m 31, I got some time to figure it out…Worst case scenario we can learn to read by candle light…And kids don’t need to eat everyday right? God knows the dog could skip a meal.

 

Thanks for the therapy….the cheque might bounce though.

 

 – Jason

Follow @FredThePeacock 

 

Have you ever dared go back and read what you wrote, oh so many years ago? Ever dust of that journal, try and stick the old faithful 2.5 inch disk into the nonexistent drive, or crack open that old school exercise booklet? You are cringing aren’t you? I can feel the gut punch and the always descriptive groan. But…there is a but…If there wasn’t this would be a fairly short, pointless and downright mean post. If you have the courage to grab that bankers box down off the top shelf in the closet, the one hidden by old sweaters, Anne Rice paperbacks and that hat you bought that was in style long enough for you to drive home from the store. Bring that that box down, and breathe in. You know what that is you are breathing? Dust mites…and humility. One of those can be a very good thing.

Humility is that precious little gift that keeps us all from being ignorant little pricks and pretentious little snobs. It is a vital component in what makes up a decent human being. It is what lets us know that at one point we all… sucked. It is important for our overall growth and definition of our character that we as people sucked at one point in our life, and recognize that we will most likely suck again. Oh, and if you are that person reading this now saying “Nope, not me”. Well…then you are in that point right now. Of course I am talking about writing, since that is what I know and what I have been doing in one form or another for twenty five years. However, you can apply this to anything. A good friend of mine is a very successful competitive runner, guess what? He used to fall down…a lot. It is important, and it gives us perspective to know that everyone was terrible at some point. Accepting that is what makes us better, and lets us grow.

Do you want to know what was in my metaphorical “box on the shelf”? There were some real gems. The first few are illegible. Not because I had such terrible penmanship, but because they are literally just squiggly lines…As I recall, we kept a daily journal in grade one. Our teacher had instructed us that if we didn’t know a word, just put a squiggly line. When we were done we would go over it with her and she would help us with the words we didn’t know. Of course when I walked up with all squiggly lines, and the teacher asks me, “Well, what do they mean?”…My obvious answer is… “I dunno, they just look like a bunch of squiggly lines…” Lesson learned: Don’t depend on the memory / attention span of a five year old.

Let’s skip a few years down the road, to my fondness writing memory…Not my best, but my fondness. In grade five or six (can’t remember…damn glue addiction) I had a teacher who would give me exercise booklets, the ones with the dotted lines between the two solid lines, for students to practices cursive (do they still do that? I can’t remember the last time I saw a kid write cursive? I guess they can just choose whatever font they want on their macbook…). He would give me these books, because he knew I liked to write stories. I remember this time with a smile on my face. When I wrote in those silly little books, I didn’t write for attention, praise, money, or to argue a point…I did it simply to entertain myself. I wasn’t concerned about being original. I just wanted more stories from my favorite characters. When I ran out of things to read, and still wanted more Garfield or Carmen Sandiego, I would just write my own stories about them. It made perfect sense. I didn’t occur to me that for most people the story ended when they put down the book. I saw no reason for endings….I wrote long nonsensical stories starring my favorite characters and filled countless exercise books. I think it may be part of the reason I did well in school at that age. I knew if I did a good job, and got my work done early I would be awarded with more books to write in. Again, reading these stories today, they make no sense. But they are pure and came from the heart and head of a kid who just liked to tell stories.

It is from those heartfelt tells that I stumble across a journal from my university days when I flip to a page containing a drunken manifesto on the beauty and purity of masturbation. Here is the stage where the cringing really starts. Not that it was that bad, but that I thought it was that good. I still remember finishing it and gleefully running out of my dorm room and down the hall. I burst into the room two girls who had known me for a total of two weeks, proclaiming: “You gotta read this!” Their looks should have told me all I would ever need to know. This was me at my pretentious, narcissistic best. University was a great time for writing in theory. I was surrounded by other artistic people trying desperately to find their place. Looking back now, we were all trying too hard. It was here that I entered my “pained artist” stage. Everything was so self-loathing and filled with anguish. It was the self-indulgent bullshit every twenty year old writes, because they have a profound understanding of the world, that the rest of us couldn’t begin to fathom. This is the stage I like the least. I tried too hard to be something I wasn’t, because I didn’t know how to be who I really wanted. I didn’t realize then that I just had to wait.

Then came the drunken writing phase. Like the grade one phase, all works from this period are completely illegible.

Once I realized I could write without booze, I spend about seven years trying to figure out if it was possible to be happy and still write. For the most part it was hard. With considerable effort some good things came out. Eventually I produced something of substance; something I was pleased with (well, almost pleased with). I did this (mostly) sober, but definitely happy. But….there is that but again….It felt like work. I guess it was…I was doing it more because of something I wanted, and less because I actually wanted to do it. At this point, it seemed that I wanted to be a writer more than I actually wanted to write. This “forced” work began to bleed through on the page and I needed a change if I was going to move forward. I looked to the past, because… well, you can’t see the future. For me, lifting the lid of the “box” and dredging through utter embarrassment was insightful. I saw the kid who wrote with a pencil just for the sake of moving it on the page, who just a few years later, was making up stories simply to entertain himself. I want to write like that kid again.

Sometimes I lay awake at night, reliving those painful memories of bad decisions or the awkward moments that always accompany youth. What I take away from those moments now is not the pain, but the intentions; the intentions were always pure and natural.

Dig through your past, you’ll find some cringe worthy things, that I do not doubt. If you look a little deeper at the things you have hidden in the shadows, you might just see something else; something you have been missing. We all sucked…And are better for it.

Think of a picture of yourself you hate from your childhood. A picture you would hide away in a closet or bury in a box. You were ashamed of for how awkward you were. It was always that picture that your parents showed off as your face turned red with rage and you wondered why that we do something as horrible as display that picture. I’ll tell you why, because of what they saw in it. All of the best parts of you now, the things that define and inspire you, were already there in that picture. Take another look.

Thanks for indulging me yet again.

Jason.

Follow – @FredThePeacock

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

The resurgence of 24 is rapidly approaching. May 5th 2014, the clock starts ticking again. Although, whether the clock will still be an intricate thematic device with the new shortened format, is yet to be seen . What is known is that Jack is back. As always, Jack will be accompanied by a plethora of bullets, explosions, chases, double-crosses, triple-crosses and of course the fan favorite exclamation: “Dammit!”

Only one thing about the outcome of the show is certain right now. That is, when it is all said and done, some fans will be angry. It is inevitable. Fans will cry outrage and fire up their laptops or Ipads to vent on their message board of choice. This is not unique to 24. All shows have their outspoken advocates. When a show ends, no matter how the writers choose to wrap up, there will be calls for public execution (think Lost, or more recently How I Met Your Mother). The only show that got away mostly unscathed was Breaking Bad. It got a pass, as it left viewers with a satisfying ending that made sense.

How can 24: Live Another Day, avoid this backlash? It probably can’t. Below are 5 things Jack should do, and 5 he should avoid. If accomplished the writers may get the slightest of reprieve, when the clock hits its final mark.

Jack Should Not…
5. Fall In Love / Have Sex

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

It is just not a good idea Jack.

For one reason, we don’t need to see it. It is not why we watch. It has much more impact to the viewer to see him pine over his long dead wife and know that the real, ruthless Jack Bauer was born when she died.

Speaking of dead wives, lets take at look at his track record: First wife murdered (but not before he had an affair with the woman that would later kill her). Had a fling with the wife of Mexican drug cartel Kingpin, only to have her wind up dead in the back of a pickup truck. Fell in love with a woman who was brave enough to risk her life, crossing the globe to rescue him from a Chinese prison. Only to be mentally tortured to the point that her only relief was falling into a seemingly permanent catatonic state. And what happens when Jack finally has sex? Sniper takes her out right after.

How has Chole survived so long? She kept things strictly platonic, that’s how.

Stay away from the ladies Jack….It doesn’t end well…for them.

4. Assume That The Guy You Got is THE Guy

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Because it never is.

There is a hierarchy to villains in 24. Jack has to work his way up the ladder of baddies before he can confront the big bad. Whether that big bad is the original, Victor Drazen, or the calculating Stephen Saunders or the evilest man on the planet, Charles Logan, Jack will inevitably have to go through a few red herrings to bring them down.

The formula is followed year after year. So why is it when they catch the guy they were originally after they assume the threat is over? How come when the nuke is disarmed and the day is only half over they assume the coast is clear.

It is never entirely clear to Jack or the viewer who the real threat is, but you can be damn sure it isn’t the first or even the second fish caught. Jack needs to keep shaking trees until the big fish falls out. As seen in the past, it could be anyone, remember dear old daddy Phillip Bauer?

Speaking of Dad…

3. Contact Any Family

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Not Aunt Carol, not Josh Bauer, and please not Kim.

For everyone’ s sake, Jack’s family should stay out of it. Sometimes it is beyond Jack’s control when they get involved. Regardless of who brings them in, if there is a Bauer on screen they’re irrevocably a target.

As a viewer it just is not interesting. Kim Bauer was involved in possibly the most ludicrous story line in the history of television as she was stalked by a cougar and held captive in Kevin Dillion’s basement. What did this have to do with the rest of the story? Nothing, so leave it out.

We only have Jack for half the time in this incarnation of the show. We need to maximize his time on the screen and we don’t want it bogged down with pointless melodrama from the rest of the Bauer clan.

2. Trust Michael Wincott

Courtesy of Miramax Films

Courtesy of Miramax Films

Jack should shoot him on first site. He is always a bad guy (although probably not THE bad guy). Wincott is probably most famous for playing the twisted, sister-loving, sword wielding villian Top Dollar in The Crow. Or as the slimy cousin to the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He just looks evil.

Wincott is cast as a character named Adrian Cross. Nothing is known of him at this point, but he is an exciting name that jumps of the cast list as a potential threat to Bauer. Expect him to challenge Bauer more on an intellectual level than a physical one.

If he starts out the show on the “good side”, watch for the turn. It will come.

1. Kill / Cripple His Partners

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Let’s face it. Jack Bauer will not be around forever, in fact this could be the last time we seem him. However, the series doesn’t have die. It could carry on in some medium with the right successor.

The new Jack will need a lot of help to get over with fans. The best way to do that is have the character have an established relationship with the old Jack. They need to try something like they did with Indiana Jones and Shia Labeouf. Except avoid using Shia Labeouf. With the right actor, the concept of using the established star to get over the next generation is a good one. The problem in 24 land is Jack really likes being on top, as demonstrated by his bad habit of maiming or killing the people he works with.

Chase seemed like he was being groomed as a replacement. He was smart, efficient and could take a beating. He also had the quality that makes us love Jack the most, his willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Of course any chance Chase had of being an expert field ops leader was lost along with the hand Jack took off with an ax.

Then there was Curtis Manning. He was another agent that seemed to have all the right moves. At first he looked like just another suit, but as soon as he stepped into the field, the ass-kicking began. Curtis even managed to make it a couple seasons. As his character progressed so did his chances of claiming the throne. Of course that was until Jack put a bullet in his neck. Curtis died never realizing his full potential.

If Jack could let someone stick around long enough to learn a few things, 24 could have life beyond 2014.

Jack Should…

5. Eat

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

This might sound silly, irrelevant or something we should be expected to accept due to the suspension of belief we agree to when we turn on the TV. However, it has been something consistently mentioned by fans since season 1. In most shows this is not an issue, but when you are following the same character for 24 hours, you think you would see him grab a snack. Granted, Jack does not appear every scene, so he could be munching away off camera. You would think though that the amount of time we do spend with Jack, seeing him indulge in a granola bar wouldn’t be too much to ask.

In eight seasons (that is 192 hours) we have seen Jack eat three times. In the first episode we see a much more carefree Jack enjoy a pudding cup while playfully arguing with Teri about how to deal with their daughter’s lack of respect. Again in season 1, when Jack is in custody back at CTU we see him finishing up a TV dinner. Finally, Jack gets breakfast in the beginning of season 5 with his new girlfriend and her son. That’s it! Now, it should be noted that Jack by season 8 is a very different guy and it would be hard to picture him with a pudding cup, a protein bar might still be acceptable.

This could be regarded as a non-issue, as it is quite possible for a person to go 24 hours without eating. Is it a good idea, probably not. For an average person it would be uncomfortable. For a guy who spends the entire day running, shooting, fighting and yelling at people it would be near impossible.

Just have a snack Jack.

4. Be Pardoned By The President Of The United States

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

When we last saw Jack he was back on the run. He is wanted for a number of crimes, and rather than be taken and face the hypocrisy he wants worked for, he chose to disappear. If Jack doesn’t want to be found, he is not going to be.

Jack will undoubtedly be working with the authorities again. With Jack in London this time around will it be the British police or MI6 enlisting Jack’s help? Maybe the price of Jack’s help is the British government keeping the Americans off his back.

His crimes are justified by most, but some would still have him brought up on charges, similarly to the beginning of season 7.

It is not a secret that Jack’s old “friend” James Heller will be the President in the upcoming season. Once like father and son, there last meeting saw Jack contemplating shooting him. After what happened to Audrey the two former friends will never be up for a round of golf, but the office Heller now holds owes something to the man that saved the United States from utter disaster on 8 separate days.

Heller pardoning Jack and publicly recognizing Jack’s heroics would not only be a well deserved honor for Jack, it would be a fitting tribute to the deceased President David Palmer. It would be what the always honorable President Palmer would have wanted, to see Jack get what he could never give him.

3. Keep Chloe Alive

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Jack always loses some comrades along the way. People are going to die, and Jack will not be able to save everyone. One person he definitely needs to keep alive is Chloe.

Chloe looks pretty beat up in the trailer and it seems that Jack is pretty  much dragging her along. Hopefully safety isn’t too far off.

We have lost a lot of beloved characters along the way: Michelle, Edgar, Milo, Palmer and every other character that earned the legendary silent clock. Chloe should not be one of them.

Jack needs Chloe, her expert hacker skills aside, she give Jack humanity. At times she is his much needed conscience, other times his only true defender. Chloe has had Jack’s back since season 3. She has put in her time and deserves to see this through to the end.

2. Find Peace

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

Season 3 ends in a whimper. It is subtle, perfect and completely summarizes the character of Jack Bauer. After saving the day again, we find Jack in his car in a rare moment of solitude. He finally has a moment to reflect on everything and comes to terms with what he has done. What does Jack do when he is faced with himself? He cries. Jack shows his humanity, and everyone can emphasize with him. However, his moment of self reflection is short lived. As Jack is breaking down a call comes over the radio. After a few seconds of hesitation, he answers the call, because that is what he does.

Anyone would be hard-pressed to find another character in television who has given more and suffered more. Each season it was harder and harder to watch Jack go through the physical, mental and psychological torture. The viewer was left asking the question, what else can they do to him?

Over the years he has become a shell of his former self, as his actions have become more mechanical and reflex oriented. It would be nice to see some new life be breathed into Jack. We need to see more moments like we saw in the car at the end of season 3. We need to see a more vulnerable Jack processing the journey he has been on. He needs to accept who he is and more importantly he has to forgive himself.

1. Die
jack-bauer

Yes, Jack Bauer should die.

The subtitle ‘Live Another Day’ is less than subtle. We need Jack one more time. We need him to answer that call and save the day again. Then maybe we can finally let him die.

He obviously doesn’t fear death. He has died once, if only for a few minutes. Jack has welcomed death on multiple occasions, always ready to sacrifice himself for the greater good.

As he looks over the cliff at the rocks below at the end of season 6 the viewer knows what he is thinking. What saves him from going over that cliff is the same thing he said at the beginning of the season : “I didn’t want to die for nothing.”

He will gladly give his life for the right reason, for a purpose. In the upcoming 24 swan song, Jack needs to be given that purpose and be given a reason to die that is worthy enough of the life he led.

24 needs to end with one final silent clock mourning the death of Jack Bauer.

And we as the viewer need to let him go.

Other things you do or don’t want to see in the upcoming season of 24? Share in comments.

Thanks for reading,

Jason

Follow – @FredThePeacock

Courtesy of Escobar Studios

Courtesy of Escobar Studios

Television has become the monster in my house that I am afraid to confront. The second I click ‘power’ the blue glow fills the otherwise dark room, because, of course I turned the TV on before the lights…Because who needs lights when you got TV? I know as I sit in the shadows in awe of its grandeur and presence, something that once was simple and intoxicating, is now daunting and complicated. The sheer volume of choices that bombard me as I scroll through the screen, triggers the impulse to pull my knees up to my chest and rock back and forth, humming to myself until the madness ends. I remember being a little boy and grabbing my bowl of fruit loops plopping down in front of the TV, clicking on the cartoon channel watching The Mighty Hercules (“Hey Herc, Hey Herc…..”) and giggling to myself as milked dribbled down my chin. Now, two and a half decades later, I am stilling grabbing my bowl of fruit loops (don’t judge) but, by the time I have found something to watch they have disintegrated into a soggy bowl of rainbow sludge. We have over 700 channels at my house. Do we want them all? No we don’t. Do we need them all? Absolutely.

Why do we need them? Because it is a drug, and we are addicted. We have always been addicted, and now everyone wants to cash in on that. It wasn’t enough that Oprah got her own (pun intended) channel, she is a brand onto herself. We will give that to her. But, Robert Rodriguez has his own channel now. Yep the filmmaker who brought us the Spy Kids and From Dusk till Dawn franchises. Do you know what the flagship show Rodriguez’s network El Ray is? It is From Dusk till Dawn the series. After one mildly successful cult hit with Tarantino, the Dusk franchise produced two direct-to-video sequels that I am sure Danny Trejo couldn’t even sit through. Apparently, these blood soaked, sex infused classics warranted a TV show. Now do you think I am going to watch this questionably produced show?… Absolutely, it looks fantastic! The point is, anything can be a show now, and anything is a show now…Look at reality TV. Would you have believed someone if they told you ten years ago that one of the most successful shows in the world would involve watching rednecks make duck calls? Yes you would? Okay, then you are a liar. Here is a bucket of water to put out your pants.

Reality TV is a massive topic, which I have a lot to say on. However, I will leave it for a future post and instead concentrate on the bigger problem. The problem is not the choices. The problem is that you no longer need to choose. The viewer has been given the ultimate power, and with the latest technology you can now watch everything. With DVRs, Tivo, timeshifting channels, Netflix, Apple TV, you can literally watch every show on TV and you can watch them when you want. I have a four month backlog on my DVR right now. I just finished watching the show Hostages…The finale aired months ago. That is the freedom technology has given us. We were already addicted, now we are hopeless. The implementation of DVRs to a TV viewers life is the equivalent of a stoner using their first bong or Rob Ford discovering a crack pipe (leave me alone, it’s topical!) The delivery method of a DVR is like a needle to your arm, injecting you with the brutality of Game of Thrones and the absurdity of the Kardashians.

The biggest stressor currently in my life, is not money, or my job, or my child’s future. It is when that status bar on my DVR turns red letting me know I have gone over 90%. That is when the sweating starts…When I sit down with my elbows on my knees and run my hands through where my hair used to be and prepare to make the tough choices. I have to decide what to let go. First I look to the kid shows. I can justify to myself that my daughter should not be watching TV, it is bad for her. She should be playing with stuff in the corner, while daddy watches his stories. If there is not enough there, I turn to the wife’s shows…What can I convince her has “magically” disappeared? (“No, I swear it was there earlier…the box must have screwed up again….”). When all else fails, I have to look to my own shows and decide what I can live without…When I recover from the crying and wailing most often associated with losing a loved one, I decide that instead of erasing, I will just fast-forward through a couple shows to get rid of them quicker….What is the best way to experience the classics of today?…At 30 times their normal speed…That is what it has come to.

Don’t get me wrong…I love my DVR. Do I watch more shows than I need to? Yep. Are there better uses of my time? Definitely. Do I care? Nope. When I am eventually able to pull myself away from the television to do this like; go to work, raise a child, have a meaningful, romantic relationship with my wife; I find it funny that a device made to simplify our lives has complicated it so much. At the end of the day, when it is just my wife and I and we decide to unwind in front of the TV that has over 700 channels and the DVR that has hundreds of hours of TV recorded, the same questions gets asked: “What do you want to watch?”, “I don’t know what do you want to watch?”.  This back and forth repertoire will continue for a few minutes until one of us will cave and pick something that they don’t want to watch, because they think the other one wants to watch it, even though they actually wanted to watch the same show the first person wanted to watch. We will then watch about fifteen minutes of said show that neither of us wanted to watch, and then give up, pause it and go to bed. We will eventually get back to that show in about four months.

Oh TV, I have never hated something I love so much.

 

Cheers,

 

Follow @FredThePeacock

 

In a few days I will be 31 years old….Just typing that caused me to pause for a moment. I remember when I was young and ignorant of anything outside my bubble, and such an age seemed too far off to be considered. I remember when I was a little older, but far more reckless and such an age seemed like a distant possibility. Now, that age seems pretty young, and anyone reading this over that age would balk at 31 being old.

Though it does beg the question, at what age are we supposed to ‘grow up’? Or is growing up even relevant anymore? I am not sure I even know what it means. Does being over 30 mean that I have to stop playing video games, watching professional wrestling, or reading comic books? Maybe it is a generational thing, but some would say those are not the activities of a grown up. Let’s say for a minute I agree with that, what if I said that I had a wife, a daughter, a successful career and a mortgage…Does that make me a grown up? Having to ‘grow up’ seems like such an arbitrary idea in my white, Canadian, middle-class life, however, I suppose for some it is in actuality a harsh reality.

For our purposes let’s define growing up as: less opportunity for carefree activities and more responsibilities and commitments to others and your community. For some, responsibilities beyond yourself come much earlier than others; for some those responsibilities never come. Therefore, the idea of growing up has nothing to do with age, but is more a matter of circumstance. Age is irrelevant (phew…I feel better already, isn’t self justification grand?).

The idea of certain hobbies associated with supposed grownups is absurd. The idea the one person’s hobby is childish, while another’s is looked upon with prestige is prejudicial and nonsensical.  Have you ever watched or played Grand Theft Auto? How about cribbage? Have you ever watched or played that? The two are polar opposite of gaming experiences. Is one more relevant to adulthood than the other? They shouldn’t be. The idea that someone interests are infantile is an old school mentality associated more with the farm boy being told to put down the wooden train and pick up a shovel.

Fortunately, this old school mentality towards age biased hobbies has evolved. This was never more evident to me as when I visited by 65 year old parents, and while attempting to engage them in conversation I was only responded to with one word answers as they were too busy playing Fruit Ninja and Candy Crush on their Ipads. It was then I understood what they felt like fifteen years earlier.

Speaking of parents, mine are currently retired. They spend most of their days relaxing in the sun, golfing, reading and never having to look at their watch before deciding if they want a cocktail. That is about as carefree as it gets. Based on our previous definition, I guess my parents aren’t grown up anymore.

I will say again, age is irrelevant. This has never been more apparent to me, then in my relationship with my wife, who is  (ooohhh, she is going to be mad….) older than me. How much older?……..Come on now, I’m not a complete idiot! Plus, it is irrelevant right? The point is, it has never once affected our relationship. If it wasn’t for the occasional playful barb thrown at each other, it would never even be brought up.

I will most likely be reading comic books and playing video games long after my own daughter goes on to be, whatever it is she may be. And that is okay. And turning 31, should not be a reason to pause and reflect, as it doesn’t really change anything or matter for any intrinsic purpose. I am still responsible for myself, others, and my role in the community. I am responsible for these things not because that is what is expected of me due to an age marker, I take responsibility for them, because I care about them. I didn’t get married or have a daughter because it was time to do so; I did so because I wanted to.

Age does not determine or justify my actions. My actions are dictated by simple needs and wants. Sometimes when the work day is long done, and the wife and daughter are sleeping sweetly and soundly upstairs; George the golden retriever has taken over security detail for the night, albeit dozing at his post as he snores at the foot of the bed. The cats are on the prowl; and the moonlight shimmers into the living room. I sneak, ever so stealthily down the stairs and tip toe into the living room. I make no wasted movements, and all effort is focused on being as quiet as a mouse as not to disturb a soul. I take one last looked around and breath in the silence of the night. Then when I am sure the coast is clear, I click on the PS3 and play Grand Theft Auto and eat Cheetos until four o’clock in the morning. You see, life isn’t about growing up, it is about balance.

Thanks for indulging me. 

Jason

For more nonsenseical ramblings check out : @FredThePeack on Twitter.

 

 

I have always written things down. Everything just seemed to make more sense that way. Thoughts can be easily jumbled when sliding off the tongue – there are too many opportunities for mis-communication, hurt feelings, fist-a-cuffs and lost family members. Writing is much more deliberate. You can work out an idea, flush it out on the page, sculpt it the exact way you want it, before you release it onto your victim(s). Although, achieving perfection through writing, in the eyes of the writer is a near impossibility. If deadlines didn’t exist, things would stay in a perpetual state of editing. I digress — that is getting off topic. The point is, writing is how I chose to communicate with the world, except it was never was with the world…..It was solitary and seemingly without purpose.

About a year ago, I thought to myself, why not try and put something online. Everyone else seemed to be doing it. At this point I didn’t have twitter or facebook, and had no virtual presence to speak of. So I jumped into the cyber pool, and posted a couple blogs. I Joined facebook to stay in touch with long lost friends and family and more importantly joined twitter to stay in touch with all my celebrity friends (in a completely one-sided, stalker-esque relationship). You know what happened? I went from having no virtual presence to having a very, very tiny, little speck of a molecule of presence on the internet. It was kind of cool. People (very few mind you) actually read what I wrote — of their own freewill. I wasn’t saying anything of importance, I just rambled as I am now, but people still read (again, very few). Even a few, even anyone, was pretty cool. And I thank them.

Then after about 12 blog posts ranging in topics from pro-wrestling to gay marriage, I just stopped. I stopped for no other reason, than that is what I do. I don’t finish things. I enjoyed being a part of an online community, and just stopped because of……I don’t even know why…I enjoyed doing it, I guess I just hate consistency. 

So here goes attempt number two. The difference this time is that I have goals, I want to build something. Even if no one reads it, I will write it, just because I enjoy it. There is too much stupid shit in my head that needs somewhere to go.

And I will keep writing it because I need the practice….I have written stories since I was a child. I used to staple together construction paper and make little novels. Then 10 years ago I started a story. What I didn’t know then was that story would be my Everest. Ten years later and a third of my life gone, and it is still not done. Telling people I am working on my novel is a pathetic cliche….That happens to be true. Draft one is done, and now I am in that perpetual editing phase…The main problem with this story is that it is blocking every other story in my brain…I need to get it out, even if nothing happens with it, I need to move on.

In the meantime I will write here. Topics will be diverse and open to suggestion. I will try to share a bit of my skewed view of the world, hopefully with a little hilarity and some insanity.

Lastly, I apologize for this post. As it is neither funny or interesting. However, I needed to get my intentions down so I have something to hold myself to.

Thanks for getting this far.

Cheers,

Jay

– @FredThePeacock 

I like to think I am a smart guy…I think therefore I am right, so I guess I am a smart guy, good for me. As a person of reasonable intellect I believe that I have the capabilities to understand most things in the world. Do I know how nuclear fusion works? Absolutely not…However, I like to think with enough time and research I could have a general understanding, enough so that I could carry on a dialogue about the subject if the need ever arises. Since this need will probably never arrive, I have no plans to even Google nuclear fusion, but I could. There is a wealth of knowledge out there. I used to have to go to the library and dig up old texts or look through the archaic encyclopedias kept in my parent’s basement. Now, with a few clicks on my phone I can learn about anything I want (a large part of me prefers the old way, but I will save that for another day). Equipped with a brain and a wealth of knowledge at tips of my finger no subject is beyond comprehension right? I am not saying after a quick Wikipedia search I would be able to split atoms, but I would have the gist of it, so if say my daughter ever asks me: “what is nuclear fusion Daddy?” First I will think, shouldn’t you be watching the Smurfs? But after that I will realize that I don’t have to completely bullshit my answer, because I can easily use my brain and finger tips to find an adequate answer.

I ask again, is any subject beyond comprehension? Yes. There is one subject, try as I may that I will never understand. No matter how much I read or how hard I work my brain I cannot begin to understand the gay marriage debate. Mainly, I don’t understand why there is a debate. I say this completely dismissively, it is pointless and a non-issue. I don’t mean that people’s basic rights are a non-issue, I mean the fact that we feel the need to debate a person’s right to get married is pathetic.

If you watch the news or use any kind of social media you know this is coming out of the ongoing Supreme Court of USA investigation into Proposition 8, which deals with same sex marriage. I am not a political person, and I have no desire to get into a political debate. Frankly, they bore me. I do not know a ton about American politics (I am Canadian), but I know the broad strokes (again I could learn more, if I found it to be necessary. At this time, I do not). In my mind this transcends politics and is a human rights issue. I don’t really get involved a lot. My writings are usually just humourous stories, incoherent ramblings or just simply a way to blow off steam. This issue and debate perplexes me so much that I wanted to share my own thoughts. Not that I have any great insight, trust me, I don’t. Writing has always been my best form of communication and allows me expression my thoughts, ideals and my personal favorite and very appropriate in this case, the stupidity and hypocrisy of others.

In Canada same sex marriage has been legalized since 2005. I do not make this as a statement of intellectual superiority. It is just a statement to put my writing in context. Like my general confusion on the topic I have no idea why it wasn’t legal until 2005 and why we are only the fourth country in the world to make it so. What right does any government have to regulate who can marry? I suppose in the right that marriage is a legally binding contract regulated by the government. This begs the question, why would anyone let the government decide the fate of their relationship? I would suggest, and hope that the majority do not. Marriage is not a necessity for a successful relationship by any means. Many couples are perfectly happy not to get married. There is nothing wrong with that. It is a choice. The point is that how can a government not open an institution as revered as marriage to their entire public. Dismissing a large portion of that public based on a lifestyle choice is obviously prejudicial. Canadian Prime Minister (who is famous for much more than being cuckolded by Mick Jagger) said this in the 1960s regarding the decriminalization of homosexuality:

“Obviously, the state’s responsibility should be to legislate rules for a well-ordered society. It has no right or duty to creep into the bedrooms of the nation.”

This statement makes clear what the state’s role should be. Obviously the issue reaches far beyond the bedroom. It makes the case that a person’s lifestyle choices have no baring or relevance concerning government decision making. The fact that this is a case that had to go to the highest court in the land makes me sad and if I was of a more political nature I would be more inclined to heavily question the productivity of a government that spends so much time and money on a debate where the obvious answer seems so painfully clear that you wonder about the legitimacy of common sense or basic human decency.

The religious argument….First let me say that I no way intend to offend anyone’s religious or spiritual beliefs. I recognize that the people who oppose same sex marriage from a religious stand point are a relatively small group and that they do not represent the whole. This segment is directed at the smaller majority who promote their beliefs with the agenda to belittle others. I apologize for any innocents that are hurt in the crossfire.

The Bible is pretty heavy. Literally. It must get easier standing on your pulpit as the Bible gets lighter when you tear out the unnecessary ones that may contradict your point. These opposers love to cherry-pick from the bible to prove their point. There are no bigger hypocrites in human existence that I can recall. The Bible at its best can be a spiritual guidebook, teachings to uplift people in their time of need. At its worst it is a vicious battleaxe stained will blood and bad intentions. Using the bible to demean others and classify them as anything less than equal is hateful and oxymoronic. The bible is not a literal text, but then again, metaphor might be too big of a word for some from this flock. That being said, you may not support gay marriage, and I have made it clear that I do not understand that, but I do understand that, that is your belief. Does someone else having a different belief make yours any less true? If you answer yes to that, than it is not a belief you have, but a badly placed idea. People believe in different things, always have, and always will. The necessity of some to tear down another’s belief to prove theirs’ true is also lost on me. Believe what you want. I don’t have to like it and you don’t have to like it if your male neighbours (***Gay Stereotype Alert***) look too much like Bowie and play Madonna all day. You can just smile and wave and know that their beliefs are in no way a threat to yours.

Some will say that I am going to hell for my beliefs. Well, Heaven and Hell are states of mind and matters of perspective. At the end of the day, I would prefer to go with the more accepting bunch.

“Same-sex marriage isn’t natural….” I love that one…. What is natural? Pretty sure I wasn’t meant to fly, eat ice cream or live past 35 either. Natural is subjective and ever changing. Open your eyes and ears, adjust, evolve and move on. End of point.

I don’t understand…Did I say that already? Gay marriage is the most illogical debate I have ever heard. The only possible opposition to gay marriage I could understand is if it was coming from a gay person who was terrified of commitment. Not gay? Then you have no right to oppose.

If every gay person in the world was given the right to get married, my life would not change one bit. This issue, regardless of outcome has no effect on my life. That being said, I ask the people who oppose this how a gay person getting married would have any effect on your life? No, not why it is against your beliefs….Not because a small part of a large books alludes that it may be wrong…Not because it is not in accordance the governing body of your nation….How would it change your life?

It is not a rhetorical question. There is an answer, and if you stuck allow me to assist.

It wouldn’t change your life one little bit.

Can we move on now?

-Jason
@gskewedview

You ever get a line from a movie stuck in your head? Sometimes you can’t place the actor who said it or even the movie it was in, because great movie lines transcend both. They can be funny, witty, romantic, provocative or absurd; but whatever they are, they resonant with you. Some even find a way to work their way into your daily vernacular. You say them as if they are your own words and often they are so obscure that only you get it, and your brain smirks a little when you work in a quote from The Breakfast Club into a typical daily exchange.

Obviously, my favorites will be different from yours, because you are you and I am me, and there is a vastness of difference between us that does not stop at our taste in flicks. While I appreciate the classics like Clark Gable’s : “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” I am more prone to quote something a little more on the absurd side like an excerpt from Steve Martin’s opening monologue in The Jerk : “I was born a poor black child”.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite with my small audience of readers, because, well I feel like it. I wrote a post a little while ago that covered my TV addiction (I am sure there is a way to post a link to it here. But it is amazing enough that I know how to write anything online given my lack of interest in technological advancement. I am sure there is a way you can find it on your own, if you are so inclined. But you are probably not, so let’s move on). My television addiction is closely rivaled by movies. I have seen a lot, and own thousands. I rewatch my favorite over and over until I can quote the dialogue verbatim. To give you an example of this insanity, I can quote every word of 1993’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (I even do a dead on impression of Robin Hood full equipped with a southern Californian accent). I like special effects, and scenery as much as the next film watcher, however for me it always comes down to the words. And here are some of my favorites.

“Here endeth the lesson” – Sean Connery as Jim Malone – The Untouchables

Maybe I just have a thing for people doing bad accents. Connery won an Oscar for his portrayal of an Irish beat cop who apparently wants to be Scottish…The best movie lines are the badass ones. The badass ones are the ones that don’t sound badass at all. If this quote was taken out of context it would sound more like a stuffy English professor that a hardened Scottish/Irish flatfoot. However, Sean Connery telling a wet-behind-the-ears Costner how to be cop is both confident and unquestionable. His sage like wisdom continues throughout the movie with other good quips like: “Isn’t that just like a wop, brings a knife to a gun fight.” Although that last quote, ultimately leads him outside to be gunned down. Maybe not so sage like after all, and apparently racism is bad, as seen by Connery’s bullet ridden corpse. I think that ended the lesson (Oh…see what I did there? Huh…..Come on….). However, his “lesson” quote is later ruined when uttered by Costner in an attempt to bring his teachings full circle by quoting Connery’s teachings to Deniro. I don’t believe Deniro is acting in the end when he can’t hear Kevin and waves him off, I just think he doesn’t believe him. It’s ok Kev, I think you got your revenge for your friend when you threw the Michael Jackson impersonator off the roof.

I know I have made a few Costner jokes already. But let me make it clear, I do so with love. I am a Kevin Costner fan. Go watch Fandango where Kevin and some college buddies drive to Mexico to dig up a bottle of champagne. If that doesn’t fulfill your Costner thirst check his role as the dead guy’s feet in The Big Chill. Seriously, I am a fan.

“I love my dead, gay son.” – Grieving Father – Heathers.

Heathers should be required viewing for any highschool student. This movie would never, ever get made today. It is packed full of teenage suicidal/homicidal angst, vile poetic dialogue and stereotypes promoted to their hyperbolic best. It is bitterly, beautiful and all that was right about teen movies in the 80s. Christian Slater is a perfect as the bastard born son of a Jack Nicholson and James Dean night of drunken regret. The quote above is so arbitrary in its absurdness that it taught me at a very young age the ridiculousness of someone be identified and ridiculed solely by their sexuality. There are too many quotes from this movie to name. Go rent it (wait can you still do that?). Watch and enjoy for yourself. If had to pick just one more quote it would have to be the line uttered by Heather Chandler which was a picture perfect line of poetic verse : “Fuck me gently with a chainsaw.”

“Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you’re so cool, you’re so cool, you’re so cool.” – Patricia Arquette as Alabama in True Romance

Some quotes are so good that they can sum up the whole flick. In the case of True Romance three words: “You’re so cool.” Nuff said.

So far we have had two Christian “Kuffs” Slater references to go along with Kevin Costner. Do you know what movie Kevin and Christian starred in together? Yup. 1993’s seminal classic Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

“Suck my fat one, you cheap, dime store hood.” – Wil Wheaton as Gordie Lachance in Stand by Me

This was said to Kiefer Sutherland back in 1986. I am sure if Wil said this to Kiefer 20 years later, Jack Bauer would have snapped his neck then emptied his clip into him and said “damnit” before Wil’s body hit the ground. He would then cover up the murder and defuse a nuclear arms race in a compelling 24 hour period. This was 1986, and Kiefer was a hood named Ace Merrill, and Gordie was a scrawny kid with a passion for vomit stories who was boldly standing up for a dead guy he never even met and ended up leaving him there anyway. Defiance in the face of a bully has never been so satisfying especially when equipped with a chubby Jerry O’Connell, an unfortunately apt train dodger in Corey Feldmen and the good looking Phoenix brother.

I could go on forever. There are too many, and it is getting harder and harder to choose. So I will close with arguable the best line ever spoken in film. The iconic words are valiantly articulated by Mandy Patinkin in The Princess Bride:

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

I have been trying to work that one into a conversation for over 20 years. I have yet to achieve this feat. If my father is ever slashed through the heart by a six fingered man…..Well, I will not be at a loss for words.

Please share your favorite quotes in the comment section.

Later,

Jason
Follow – @gskewedview

P.S. Ok, one more:
(After decapitating the butler) “Looks like you won’t be attending that hat convention in July.” Bruce Wills as Hudson Hawk in……Hudson Hawk