Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Courtesy of Warner Brothers Entertainment

Courtesy of Warner Brothers Entertainment

I’m 31 years old. By no means do I consider that old. That is until I compared my 31 year old self to my 21 year old self.

This wasn’t an introspective glance into my soul. I didn’t sit cross legged in a room with a beaded doorway, with sounds of babbling brooks over the stereo, incense smoke drifting through the air, while I hummed rhythmically and peered into my soul.

No that wasn’t the case. Nothing that dramatic or dated.

The comparison came as I had a reunion of sorts. The type of reunion where guys get back together with their old buddies and proceed to act as if no time has passed. We seem to forget that we are 10 or 15 years older and we can longer walk through fire or drink with impunity.

I am lucky enough to have a core group of friends. About 7 guys…sometimes 6, who grew up together. Who at one time spent every day and night together. We have been separated by schools, cities, countries, women and fistfights, but somehow always came back together.

You have probably seen the movie.

It gets harder and harder. Now with wives and kids our adventures are limited to once or twice a year. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

This last adventure was a bachelor party. Which should be (or hopefully) the last one.

You probably saw that movie too.

The plan was two days of: camping, drinking, bonfires and paintball.

Or as we should have called it : sore backs, debilitating hangovers, and near death experiences.

I joked on the first night as beers were pounded and the twentieth wooden palate was thrown on the fire, and blaze kissed the sky at, at least 50 feet…”Wow…we really might die…”

The next day as I crawled out of the back of my van (where I slept) hit the ground and rolled over on my back peering up at the blue sky through one eye and blurred vision, I thought : “Wow…I am actually dying.”

Hours later as I ran through the forest with sweat dripping down my face and paintballs whizzing past my head and cracking off my back like stones I realized: “I’m dead and I am in hell.”

The festivities the second night were a tad bit more tame. Gone was the towering fire, and the beers were merely sipped by broken men sunken in their lawn chairs, heads bowed.

Looking around and seeing the equally pained expressions of a day long hangover holding us in a death grip, I thought to myself :

“This is why we have wives. And this is why our wives leave us to our own devices once or twice a year. To remind us why we need them.”

– Jason

Follow @FredThePeacock

You can also check out articles I have written at:

http://www.newsforshoppers.com/journalist/jason-mailhot/

 

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

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

 

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

Sometimes I think I should turn off the TV and do something more productive….I know I need to clean the basement… Haven’t really had clean clothes in a couple of days…What is that smell??… The dog looks like he wants something not sure what, but damn it is cute when he carries around that food dish…Why does my work keep calling?? I think I was there on….Oh my leg is bleeding, a lot. Is that my femur?? Probably should try and stop the…Oh wait TMZ is on, better turn it up, that baby crying is getting pretty loud.

Yeah I know what you are thinking….TV really is awesome. Alright…I admit it, watching TV may occasionally get in the way of other supposed important tasks, like the ability to say to entire word…Television. It takes a long time to say four syllables (Wait…four?? Let me clap that out – TEL (clap) – E (clap) – VI (clap) – SION (clap)….Yup four. Thank God for whoever came up with that infallible form of grammatical measuring). I don’t have time to say television, that Cheers episode I have seen over thirty time where Gary from Gary’s Ole Towne Tavern encases the bar (and Woody) in cinder blocks, is on in a few minutes. Sometimes I really don’t know how I get anything done. Some may say that TV is detrimental to your lifestyle. Those are the people who can’t afford cable…I am sad for those poor souls…Why is there no charity for this underprivileged group?? I should start that, we could have a fundraise…..Hey look! Criminal Minds marathon, awesome…Wait what was I talking about?? Right, TV equals awesome…Not just for its aesthetically pleasing pictures or nurturing sounds, but also how it has helped me become a better person.

Being an avid TV watcher I am much more efficient than the average ‘Joe Bookreader’ (You are not better than me Joe….For one I have never got a paper cut from watching TV….Haha…TV -1 Books – 0). TV has conditioned me to get the other essential life sustaining tasks done in a much shorter time span. The average commercial is 30 seconds long and there are usually 5 per commercial break. Which means that every 8 minutes or so I have 2 and a half minutes to get done the essentials. That is all the time in the world…Throw pizza pockets in microwave, go to bathroom, get Mountain Dew from fridge, grab aforementioned pockets and head back to couch just in time to see how Sam and Dean get themselves out of this one. 8 minutes later, I now have an open slot to ask my wife about her day…8 minutes after that I finally figured out why the dog has been carrying around that food dish…

Speaking of the dog…TV must be a very curious thing for him. Occasionally he will notice the TV if another dog is on, and he will sit down and look at the screen with a tilted quizzical stare. Or if George Clooney is on TV, then his fur will go up, and his teeth will come out and growls will sound out of his throat. My dog hates George Clooney. I am not sure why, but it might have something to do with the fact my dog used to date Stacy Kielber…wait…What!? Oh what is that??? Saved By the Bell reruns….awesome. Anyway….Often the dog just stares at me. He looks at me like I look at Paris Hilton. As if he is thinking “Is there nothing else….anything else you could be doing right now than staring at the bright, loud, magical box for hours on end.” But I don’t put a lot of stock in my dog’s idea of time management. On our last walk he investigated a rock for 20 minutes.

TV has just been a huge part of my life since I was little. The lessons I learned as a child from those shows have carried me through high school, university and my day to day adult life. So many valuable lessons….How could I have gotten through High School physics without the lessons I learned in Looney Tunes?? Thank you Wile E! The Muppets taught me that any obstacle you face can quickly work itself out by the time you are done signing your song. The Smurfs taught me about intolerance and racism. Gargamel was the ‘White Man’ keeping the blue man down. That wasn’t cool. Because of that show I always thought of blue people as equals. Transformers gave me a greater respect for vehicles. I was always nice to cars and trucks out of fear that they would come to life as robots and kick my ass for missing an oil change. Sesame Street opened my eyes to be able to see the day to day annoyances of people who live in garbage cans. I can now empathize with these individuals. To this day there is always a spot on my curb open for them. I could go and on about the invaluable life lessons I have learned. I would not have become a well adjusted adult if not for these and many other educational programs.

This is my love letter to TV. I went to Hallmark to buy my TV a card, but there was no such card. Our relationship is too deep, beautiful and complicated for even the wise words of Hallmark. But in every great relationship there is a dark side, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to not point out the negative aspects of TV. There are bad shows on TV that hurt me deep down in my soul. I call these programs: “The Wife’s Shows.”

I wish I could give you more of a warning so you could avoid such debacles, but I can’t out of fear. Fear my wife will read this and take the TV away. Even typing that last sentence created enough separation anxiety for me to shutter. No, I can say no more on this topic. Just know that sometimes you have endure the dark times. Love will endure.

I will admit that TV has had other effects on me. It has, to a degree, desensitized me to reality. I don’t see this so much as a bad thing, more of a mildly amusing side effect. For example, I have found myself angered by the last few season of Survivor…I get mad because they give the people food. I know somewhere deep down that it is wrong to feel anger when starving people are given food, but I feel anger nonetheless. It’s Survivor! How dare you give them rice! Make them eat bugs and chase boars with sharpen sticks…I want to see the camera cut away to the disgusted vegan’s face when they have to slaughter their pet chicken….

I also tend to immerse myself in my favorite shows. I often think that I am one of the gang. This might have gone too far recently. My wife and I have just discovered Criminal Minds….which is awesome by the way. It is the kind of show the gives the people on Law and Order nightmares. We have spend the last couple months getting caught up on the DVDs. One night we were taking a break from it and were watching the news. A story came on about a rash of killings across the country. I immediately got up, turned to my wife and said, “wheels up in thirty” and left the room. I spend the next half hour sitting in my car looking at an empty file folder until there was a knock on the glass. I looked to see my wife standing there holding something. I rolled down the window.

“What’s that?” I said.

“Your pants. Remember those?” She said.

“Honey…..I think I have a problem.”

“I think so too dear.” She replied and passed the pants through the window.

“Will you take me to get some help?” I asked as I clung to my pants.

“Yes of course. But The Bachelor is on in a few minutes…….I will take you after that…..”

“………………I think I will go clean the basement now….”

-Jason
Follow – @gskewedview

I have that fantastic urge to write something. Yet, I have no idea what I want to write about. Zilch….. What an odd word…Zilch..Hmmm. What is the etymology of the world ‘zilch’? Let’s find out together…..Here I come Google…..

zilch (n.)
“nothing,” 1966, from earlier sense of “meaningless speech” (1960), originally Mr. Zilch (1931), comic character in the magazine “Ballyhoo.” Perhaps from U.S. college slang (early 1900s) Joe Zilsch “an insignificant person.” Probably a nonsense syllable, but Zilch is an actual German surname of Slavic origin.

You know what? I am no better for having known that. I am zilch better than I was 1 minute ago.

I believe the previous few sentences may be among the worst things I have ever written. That is including the stapled together pieces of construction paper that held my first novels….The Adventures of Mr.Bear….They were classics. Check them out on Amazon…..Nevermind I just checked, must be sold out. Printing and binding construction paper with staples is hard, hard labour.

This is sad….I really have nothing to say. You would think I would stop now, but you are not so lucky dear reader….It does beg a question though…I know why I am still writing, but why are you still reading?? You must have something better to do…Perhaps refinishing that old bed side table you keep telling everyone in your family not to throw out, because you are “getting to it”. (Even though you know it looks worse the more work you put into it, but damn it! You said you would finish it, and finish it you shall!) Or watching a Degrassi Junior High marathon (Because you are holding out hope that this time Shane won’t take the acid and do a swan dive off the bridge)….Oh I know, you could read some of those books on your shelf you have been telling people you read back in college. (The Wikipedia ending of The Grapes of Wrath is waaaaayyy better). Wait…I got it…Have you had a good cry recently? Maybe it is time you realize that you have three fingers pointing back at you. It might just be time for some you time. Light some candles, put on the best of Sade CD, light some incense and get down on your knees in the middle of the living room and wait for the water to start flowing……It is ok, let it all out. Sob to your heart’s content. Those really deep hard ones that hurt your chest, that’s what you want. Don’t forget to breath. Oh wait…Shit! Someone is home. Yah you really shouldn’t have done that. You really should have checked first. How am I supposed to know if someone is home at your house?? Oh now they think you are crazy. You managed to survive the time you stabbed them in the thigh with a fork…But this is too much. They are gone. They will be back for their stuff later. You say you will be out, but you won’t be will you. Nope, you will scare the shit out of them when they come in and find you sitting in the dark, smoking a cigarette at the kitchen table, drinking straight vodka and methodically tapping the fork on the table.

See?? There is a plethora of fun-filled productive activities you could be doing rather than reading this…

Ok, so now that you are sad, alone and watched your fill of poorly produced yet effective Canadian melodrama, I can tell you why I am still writing when obviously I have nothing to say. I am writing because it is the only known cure to writer’s block. You want to write something, but don’t know what? Don’t over think it. Just write…It doesn’t matter if it is dogshit. It doesn’t matter if it is nonsensical dribble (see paragraph above). The sheer act of writing will help you get over that seemingly impassable mound. You will most likely throw out every word you wrote (or you will publish it online). But maybe, just maybe there is an idea, one line, even a perfectly worded phrase that somehow escaped the rest of the literary bile that spattered over your page. It is now your job to cut the fat. Clean off those few precious words and run with them. It might lead to something great….Or nothing at all. But maybe you will take even more from the next piece. Just keep going. You will never, ever write anything worthwhile by sitting around trying to think up something to write. In the most ideal of circumstances it just comes to you…In the worst of times you have to work for it. Which means you have to write, and really is that not the whole point anyway??

As for me…Well I am off to explore the literary wonders of love scorned, fork wielding serial killers.

Check ya Later,
Jason – @gskewedview

I don’t really buy into Valentine’s Day. Not that I don’t believe in love, quite the contrary, I just don’t like being told what to do. For that very reason I gave my wife chocolates and flowers yesterday (Feb 13th) because I don’t need a special day to buy her presents. I do it all year around. However, regardless of my feelings this day seems to have an effect on everyone I see. Everyone’s speed dial seems to be either turned up or dialed down today. Those who are in love are racing around to get the right gift, plan the most romantic evening or write a love poem equipped with all the beats of a Shakespearean sonnet (By the way, anyone ever try to write in iambic pentameter?? Seriously, try it, but don’t blame me when frustration leads way to questioning if you really love your subject enough to put yourself through migraine inducing torture). Then there are the other people who are slowed to a crawl today. The ones watching everyone else run around like lunatics. These are the people who currently do not have someone to make your own candy hearts for. Before I get to the point of this article, let me take a minute right now for all the kiddos reading to say that, no matter what you see today, it is ok to NOT have someone. There is nothing wrong with not being in love. Being alone is perfectly normal and natural and something everyone needs to experience. Don’t go looking for love, because you think everyone else is. Because, 1) Not everyone else is. And 2) If you go looking for it you will always be disappointed. Don’t worry, love knows where you are all of the time, it hasn’t lost you. It is just waiting for the right time to present itself to you. Be patient. Ok now that my dear Abby moment is out of the way, on to what I really want to talk about.

My wife makes fun of me when I cry in movies. Yes, I cry in movies. What you don’t? Go watch the scene in My Girl where Vada tries to convince herself that Thomas J is just sleeping after being stung to death by a bazillion bees….Go….watch it, I’ll wait…
……….

Still not crying. Ok you are dead inside. Let’s move on.

Yep. Death is sad. Although it is not the only thing that can make my face leak; the perfectly, romantic cinematic moment can also bring a tear to my eye. I would like to share with you my opinion of the single most romantic moment in the history of cinema. That moment my dear reader can be found in the 1988 ‘rom-com’ classic Die Hard.

Forget When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride or any movie starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Die Hard is the pinnacle of romance (although Joe vs The Volcano is a close second). There are many elements in Die Hard that make it a swoon fest, but there is one gut wrenching scene that serves as the definition of true love. The scene is question take place right after John Mclane (Bruce Willis) has to run across broken glass barefoot and finds himself making a desperate call from the bathroom while picking out shards of glass from his feet. If you ever wondered what Annie Lennox was singing about, you now know that it was in fact Bruce Wills who walked on broken glass.

The scene is nothing short of brilliant. While bleeding profusely from his feet Bruce Wills calls Reginald VelJohnson (because Family Matters……get it…?) At this point in the movie our hero is unsure if he will make it out alive, and ever get to see his wife again. (By the way, if you are wondering why I haven’t summarized the plot of Die Hard yet, which is custom to do if you are writing about a movie, I am not because it is DIE HARD! If you haven’t seen it….then I just don’t know what to say to you).

In between lighting a cigarette (remember when smoking was cool??) and pulling shards of glass from his bloody feet John relays to Al his doubts. He fears he will never see his wife again and wants Al to give her a message. Here is that message:

“Tell her that, um…She is the best thing to ever happen to a bum like me….She has heard me say I love you a thousand times…She has never heard me say I’m sorry….I want you to tell her that Al. Tell her John said that he was sorry.”

That is true love right there. Apologetic and self-deprecating. It doesn’t get any sweeter folks.

Don’t worry John see’s Holly again, because (spoiler alert) he saves the fucking day! Yippe-Kay-Yah! Isn’t that what true love really is…Someone who saves the day for you, each and every day…not just on February 14th.

So on this February 14th I would like to encourage everyone, single or committed to sit down and watch Die Hard. If you are with someone you love you will appreciate them more because you will realize that love conquers all…including Alan Rickman. If you are watching it alone then at least you will pick up some tips on what to do if you are ever stuck inside a Japanese corporate office that is overrun with German terrorist played by British actors.

Lastly, to my wife: I know that if I was ever kidnapped by Alan Rickman that you would also run barefoot across broken glass and kill a building full of terrorists just to save me. I want to tell you now, that I would appreciate that.

Till next time,
Jason – @gskewedview

I know I am a little late to the party when it comes to discussing the whole apocalypse thing. December 21st 2012 has come and gone, and we are still here and we all learned that the Mayan predictions are about as reliable as using Wikipedia as your sole resource for that history paper due tomorrow.

I never really put a whole lot of thought into the apocalypse (other than to question the sanity of whoever gives the green light to all of the movies about the end of the world, and why won’t John Cusack hold up stereo in a real storm when the world really needs him…) I woke up the morning of December 21st, my first thought being – I woke up. That has to be a good sign. Then I turned on the TV. Yup. Australia still there. Next thought….Shit. I have to go to work. It can’t be a good sign (and I know I am not alone) when the end of the world can be considered a positive alternative to going to work. I went to work, came home to see my (at that point, very pregnant) wife, enjoyed a little holiday cheer, drank a couple Mooseheads, ate some good food, watched some bad TV and then went to bed. I then woke up again on December 22nd, and the thought of the apocalypse (which for the rest of this article will be referred to as “the apoc” because I hate spelling apocalypse…Even though I was an English major in University and paid good money to be able to write good (I mean well) I still can’t spell worth shit. You know you are a bad speller when spell check underlines the word in red and when you click on it, and it says ‘no suggestions’. I still have red pen nightmares from University…damn English profs and there undying need for grammatical excellence…but I digress and because this parenthesis has gone on so long that when I close it and finish my sentence you will probably not remember how the sentence began) was gone. In 2012 the universe held up a big middle finger to both the Mayans and Harold Camping (if you don’t know who Camping is, google him. He is a whole new level of crazy).

Then I went home today and something caused me to rethink my views on the apoc. I had been away from home for a few days. The night I left the massive snow storm that swept across Ontario and eastern Canada hit, and our house was covered. I could barely get into our driveway. Of course I could have shoveled, or I could get a good run and it, drive in quickly and hope to hell I can stop before my car lands on the cat sleeping on the living room couch. I managed to stop in time, and the cat’s slumber was not interrupted and most likely continues to this very moment.

There is always that little fear in the back of even the most optimistic person’s mind when you go away for a few days that someone could have potentially broke into your house and be hiding in your closet wearing your underwear (the ones with the holes in them) and be waiting to stab you with a coat hanger. I stepped out of my car, and my boot sunk down a good two feet. I took a few steps, thought about the best way to disarm a naked man wielding a coat hanger, and surveyed the yard. No foot prints anywhere. My house was safe. By my flawless logic I could tell that I did not have to worry about disarming a naked man with a coat hanger, because while crazy is crazy, crazy can’t fly.

With my mind now at ease, I made my trek to the front door. The light glass outer door could have easily weighed fifty pounds with all the snow piled up in front. Luckily I still had enough adrenaline built up from playing out the naked, crazy man fight in my head, to be able to heft the door open. As I went for the second door (which thankfully like all houses, opens inward. Which when you think about it, that sucks for security purposes. Anyone can easily kick open a door with a well placed boot beside the knob. This would be much more difficult, almost impossible if the door opened outward. Seriously…think about it) I noticed something wedged in between the knob and the door frame. I picked it up and unfolded the paper. It was a pamphlet from our friendly, neighborhood Jehovah Witnesses’. I skimmed through the pamphlet, which detailed how the ‘end was near’. Really? Did we not just go through this? Or are they recycling old pamphlets? I will admit I don’t know a ton about Jehovah’s, and even less because I never actually read the pamphlet that sparked this entire writing. I did get the gist of it; they like many other groups believe that Man’s time on this planet is coming to an end. I should say that I have no problem with JWs. I have no problem with anyone beliefs as long as it doesn’t harm other people or animals. If your religion calls for you to sacrifice a goat, I have a problem with your religion. Actually come to think of it I think I have less of a problem with human sacrifice than I do with animal sacrifice (because from my experience, most goats are cooler than most people). If your religion does call for a human sacrifice, I have a few people I could suggest. David Caruso for one, and the kid whole stole my Swiss Army knife on a sixth grade skiing trip for two.

Getting back to my thoughts on The Apoc, I don’t really care. I have too much to do in any given day (like write this blog) to worry about the world ending tomorrow and the potential judgment that follows it. If there is a higher power that wants to judge me, that’s fine. I will accept whatever judgment that God or the universe has for me…As long as I get to make a judgment of my own. As long as when I am done hearing my eternal fate I can make a final statement and call “bullshit” on all the hypocrisy that I believe to exist, I am fine to take the escalator of fate up or down.

After I have had my time to rant and rave I will ask one final question. To the creator I will ask, “Thanks for that big ass snow storm in February that kept the crazy, coat hanger wielding naked guy out of my closet. But I have to know, how the hell did the Jehovah get up there?”

Finally, I know I started this about ragging on ‘end of the world’ movies, but if you are going to see one, check out Last Night by Don Mckellar. Great flick.

Till next time I have something useless to say,

Jason.

As I make my first venture into the world of online writing, I had to take a second and remember what my Mother once told me about first impressions. Then I remember that my Mother was the same person to send me to my first day of kindergarten wearing a blue,red and green McDonald’s track suit with a yellow collar and cuffs. (There were pictures but I assure you that they are all collected, shredded and burned. So if you are ever in my parent’s basement and are in the photo cabinet there is no need to open the box of pictures labelled “1987”. Don’t do it.)

This is new to me, I can’t quite tell you yet what it will be about, hopefully it will just figure itself out. As for why I am doing this. The short answer would be for my wife’s sanity. Too often she is forced to listen to me rant and rave about things that annoy me, things that blow my mind or just that I am bored and want to talk so I will go on at lengths about things that I am indifferent about. I write this in part as a secondary outlet for my inconsistent, incoherent ramblings.

If you have got this far you are either somewhat interested, as bored as I am or you ARE actually my wife and I am making you read this! Nonetheless, I feel I owe you the courtesy of telling you a little about me.

I could begin by telling you about my aforementioned wife, but I won’t. Because I am afraid of her. Don’t get me wrong, I love her and we have a wonderful, happy and fulfilling relationship. However, I do hold the natural fear that anyone who sleeps next to a person should have. Any man who watched a news story in 1993 about a scissor happy wife should share this fear. That is unless you have some deep dark desire to star in the kind of porn movies that even disgust Ron Jeremy.

I could tell you about my new 3 week old daughter. I will refrain from that now as well, except to tell you that she is beautiful and perfect (except between the hours of 9pm and 11pm). I am just not ready to share her yet.

I could tell you about some of my past adventures including parking lot brawl with an Elk in rut in Banff, Alberta. Or I could relate to you the horror of being stranded in Wawa, Ontario (no offense Wawaians). At some point I am sure I will share the dangers of drunk hitchhiking in Toronto, but today is not that day.

Nor today will I share my interests with you, or my world views. I won’t tell you about books I like. I will not rant about how (even though I appreciate the forum of online writing) I would much rather write this by hand on a yellow legal pad and pin it to the bulletin board on the street in between battle of the bands posters.

Instead of all of those things, I believe the best way to get a glimpse into my soul is by my recommendation that you stop reading now go find a VHS copy of Point Break (then find a VCR) and watch it. Because Point Break is awesome.

Yep, Point Break about sums it up. And if you don’t understand that, then you will never understand me. And that is fine for both of us.

If you found this even mild amusing, please check back for more, because I have a lot more to say that you undoubtably won’t care about.

Till next time.

Jason.