Monday, August 30, 2010

Revisionist History

This is the post where I finally admit that I write a lot of posts, frequently.  I would space them out a week at a time, but the problem is that some of them become less relevant the more I sit on them.  Okay, I'll try to space out posts like these, I promise.  Non time-sensitive posts will go up when they go up.

Anyway I just wanted to point out that you'll never see a group of people so into revisionist history than sports fans.  I admit I'm guilty of being a revisionist myself - and the best example I can think of is the recent departure of Anton Volchenkov from the Ottawa Senators to the New Jersey Devils.

For the longest time Volchenkov was our darling defenceman - the shot blocking leader, he was the best D-man available in the league.  But as soon as it started to become evident that he was going to be testing free agent waters, we (we fans, that is) started to notice some problems in his game.  He can't handle the puck if his life depended on it.  He could get injured any day - don't sign him for more than two years!  And so on.

The same sort of thing happened with Dany Heatley, but mostly that was because he was a dick about the whole "requesting a trade" deal.  Still, revisionist history is at its peak in sports.  Any other prime examples out there?  In sports, or in anything else.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


My expectations for this movie from the preview were in one spot, and what the movie delivered were somewhere else entirely.

And I don't mean that in a good way, either.

I expected a light-hearted "real life superhero" movie, but instead got a bloody, gory movie that wasn't exactly what I had in mind for the night. I should have went with Date Night, or Gunless.

I really don't like when a trailer delivers false expectations; granted I understand why the trailer couldn't show all the blood and guts, but they did paint it as a much different movie.

Also, remember how people would say The Matrix was so violent because of all the guns and shooting and people dying? Wow, were we ever tame in 1999.

Incidentally I want to watch The Matrix now.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fall TV Lineup

I've decided to make an effort this Fall to watch some new shows (on top of the shows that are coming back, too).  We're paying for cable, I think I might as well make the most of it, right?

Boardwalk Empire - This looks like it's going to be one of the best new dramas on the block.  It's based on the 1920s, when Atlantic City was turned "into a haven for booze, gambling and prostitution." (Rogers urmagazine)  It stars Steve Buscemi and a lot of Michaels: Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon, and Michael Williams.  HBO Canada, Sundays at 9pm.

Running Wilde - This is apparently the product of Arrested Development creators, and it stars Will Arnett.  Sign me up!  That's really all I needed to know.  The only unfortunate thing is that Arnett looks like he's going to be playing a Gob Bluth-type role, but I might be able to overlook that.  The show looks like they've given him a different enough challenge in the role, even if he plays an immature millionaire.  Fox, Tuesdays at 9:30pm.

Shit My Dad Says - This is the sitcom that everyone has been hyping; it's based on a particularly popular twitter feed, and stars William Shatner.  I'm really interested in this, but it could just as easily sink as it could swim.  My gut doesn't know which way it leans right now.  CTV/CBS, Thursdays at 8:30pm.

The Event - NBC has done a really good job of hyping up this show.  What is the event?  We don't know, and won't until we see the pilot.  It *looks* interesting, but I haven't seen enough of it to make a decision.  At the very least, I will watch the first episode, which means NBC has done its job.  City TV/NBC, Mondays at 9:00pm.

Hawaii Five-O - A reboot from the writers who did 2009's Star Trek, this looks like it'll be a great guilty pleasure show.  Hopefully they use the same theme music, or at least an updated version of it.  Sounds like it could be the real gem of the Fall lineup.  Global/CBS, Mondays at 10:00PM.

The Walking Dead - This is a 6-episode mini-series about Zombies!  Looks like it will be pretty sweet, and it's based on a comic book, so they already have a solid idea in place.  The only thing I don't know is whether I get the channel that this will air on.  AMC, mid-October...who knows when?

Weird or What - Another Shatner project, this is basically one of those shows that showcase the weird and wonderful.  Apparently Shatner promises "aliens, Bigfoot and the Bermuda Triangle in a 'light-hearted and jaunty way'."  So nothing we haven't seen before, but I don't care because it's hosted by William Shatner.  History Channel, Wednesday's at 10pm.

The list of returning shows I'm going to watch is a little shorter because I didn't watch that many to begin with.  So here's what I got.

90210 - Mondays on the CW
Dexter - Whenever I want because Rogers puts it for free On Demand.  But also Sundays on The Movie Network.
Glee - Whenever I get to catch an episode I'll watch it.  I've seen maybe 5 episodes?
House - Ditto, if it's on I'll watch but I'm not going out of my way.
Law and Order SVU - It's just one of those shows I can't help watch.  Wednesdays on NBC/CTV.
Modern Family - I like this show, but forget to tune in.  Wednesdays, City TV / ABC.
Stargate Universe  - I really like this show but lost following it when it went on hiatus and I didn't know when it came back.  So I'm going to catch up on the first season before watching #2.

So far it looks like none of the shows I want to watch are on at conflicting times.  Everything's coming up Milhouse!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Ceci n'est pas un artiste"

I found this journal entry dated November 20, 2005 on my old DeviantArt webpage.  Fitting, since I was wearing the t-shirt I mention in the entry when I found it yesterday.  Here it is, edited only to add a link and to clean up the language (apparently I was rather foul-mouthed 5 years ago).  Oh and to fix spelling in one spot (marked in red).

So a while back I found this pretty neat-o shirt on Threadless; it was the one with a Super Mario pipe with one of those evil pirhana plants coming out of it and underneath it, it said "Ceci n'est pas une pipe".

Well I didn't get it when I bought it, I just wanted the Super Mario pipe. But I read up on it and it actually is in reference to "The Treachery Of Images", a painting by René Magritte, a Belgian Surrealist.

You can read all about it at the handy dandy wikipedia website here but the basics of it is that the painting is of a pipe, and underneath it says "Ceci n'est pas une pipe". Well hold the phone! It pretty damn well looks like a pipe, for f---'s sake! Yeah, that's the point, you see - it is a drawing of a pipe, but the canvas and the paint is not actually a pipe. So "This is not a pipe"(which is what this translates to, for those who don't speak French) is accurate to the painting.
I just realized how ironic my signiature is("I am not an artist"). If you look at it with the whole "Treachery of Images" angle you could interpret it to mean I am the image of an artist which is pretty true because I suck. So I'm not really an artist I just look like one.

Because I'm poor and have no money.  
 So I don't know - is this still accurate?  I like to think now that I don't actually suck.  I'm just artistic in different ways.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Star Trek: The Next Generation

I realize that TNG is a show that's been off the air for 16 years now, and their run in the theatres is done now as well.  Nevertheless, I have a good reason for talking about this classic show.

TNG is a perfect show.  I mean, it has a LOT going for it to support this claim.  I'm going to go through some of them.

1) Episode Quality Goes UP rather than DOWN
Most shows these days tend to be really well written right out of the gate, but eventually falter as the show goes on.  This only makes sense - there's a lot of pressure on show runners to get their series picked up by networks, and then loved by audiences.  For the most part, the writers seem to push out the quality stuff from the get-go, and then the super awesome creativity eventually wanes.

TNG had the advantage that they knew they were going to last.  I mean yeah, the original Trek was cancelled, but TNG came into existence based on strong fan support.  No one was going to cancel TNG - so the show had the opportunity to test the waters and make mistakes (and boy, did they make mistakes!).  They got most of their kinks out, and we had 7 great years of Trek.  There were even some really great shows in the first two seasons, and this was despite a 1988 writers' strike!

2) We love the characters
While TNG was episodic in nature, it was very much a show about the relationship between the characters.  We watched them grow from season to season and learned about what makes them tick.  This is what Deep Space Nine improved upon later, incidentally, which is part of what makes DS9 my favourite Trek series of all-time.

We love to laugh at Data's antics in his quest to become human (fun fact: did you know that in The Schizoid Man, there was a cut scene where Data imitates Picard's bald head?).  We love it when Troi's mom makes passes on Picard, and in one episode forces him to proclaim his undying love for her, thus making him uber uncomfortable.  Some people might even have shed a tear when Worf was discommendated - I don't know.

The point is, the show made us care about what happens to these characters, even if we knew they were ultimately going to be safe at the end of the episode.

3) We can watch the episodes over and over again
This really speaks about the quality of the episodes again - that they're good enough to watch them over and over.  It's like Seinfeld (almost) - no matter how many times you watch the episode, you can always come back for more.  The reason I mention the "replayability" is because there are a lot of GOOD shows out there that are just simply unwatchable to me after I've seen them.

Take Dexter for example.  I've seen all 4 available seasons now, and for a time I considered purchasing it on DVD.  But then I realized that I don't want to watch them over again - the nature of the show makes it hard to just sit down and watch a show.  I think the difference here is that Dexter has a focused timeline that it's following - all episodes build on the previous show.

Whereas TNG, while all episodes happen in the same universe and are sometimes referenced, stand alone.  You can watch an episode of TNG and not know anything about what happened in previous seasons, and you'd be fine.  Well, except for the episode "Family" which directly references "The Best of Both Worlds".  But that doesn't count.

Those are just three reasons why I keep going back for more TNG.  And three reasons why I think it is the perfect show.  I have yet to find a show that measures up in the same way - Deep Space Nine is a close second; Voyager has too many flaws to be considered; the closest I've found is Stargate Atlantis, and I'm still on the fence about that one.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What Am I Reading Now?

I think this is going to be a regular "feature", especially since I think it's going to help me keep up with my reading.

World of Wonders by Robertson Davies
I'm not too far into this book yet, but I'm finding it captivating enough.  It's the third book in the acclaimed Deptford Trilogy, which started with Fifth Business and continued with Manticore.  Apparently I started reading Wonders before, but only got as far as Chapter 3.  I'm not sure why I stopped, because I'm finding it interesting enough to keep going.

Full review when I'm done, but give me a break - I've barely started!

But I think I'm going to enjoy it, because I remember from high school that Fifth Business was one of my favourite reads.  Note that I mean "high school book", not necessarily "a book I read in high school".  Because I read stuff like 1984, Dune, and The Godfather while I was in high school, which I much preferred over Wuthering Heights or The Great Gatsby.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dexter - Season 4

One of my knocks against Dexter (in both the first 2 seasons) has been that the writers turn a really cool, thoughtful show into a "damsel in distress" scenario in the last quarter of the season.  Those episodes overall are better than most dramas out there, but they still take away from the cleverness exhibited in the previous episodes.

Season three improved on that regard, but maybe only because that season was about the characters.  "Freebo" is really a MacGuffin to introduce ADA Jimmy Smits (sorry, Miguel Prado).  There's a murderer out there called "The Skinner", but he's not the true focus of the season like the Ice Truck Killer of season 1 or Dexter himself in season 2.  Actually, the evaluation of Dexter's character began slowly in season 2, but picked up major steam here in season 3.

Season 4 is no different, even though we do have a villain to follow all season: The Trinity Killer.  The writers seem to have found a much better balance of following a single case throughout the season while allowing Dexter to grow and discover who he really is (and also, who he wants to be).  On all accounts, I'd say Season 4 is the crowning achievement and the best yet for Dexter.

There is still one knock, though.  The writers of Dexter still have the tendancy to wrap everything up in a neat little package.  The tiniest thing introduced earlier in the season has a reason for being - Debra probably didn't need to find out about Harry's CI's or the partial truth behind Dexter - I know that I didn't really care about that information being revealed to her at the end of the last episode.

Okay wait - another knock.  After getting rid of an excellent character in James Doakes, they introduced Quinn.  Quinn has been suspicious of Dexter all season long in #4, and it seems from the preview in season 5, that little bit is going to be ramped up big time.  We've seen it before with Doakes, so I can only hope they're doing something original.

I will say one thing, though - the writers do a very competent job of wrapping up the season while leaving new questions for the next.  It's gotten me excited in anticipation to see what they'll do with the character given what's happened at the end of season 4 (there are enough spoilers out there!).

26 Years and 5 Months later...

...I started a personal blog.  I was hemming and hawing about what kind of blog to launch - a movie blog? TV?  Media in general?  It never occurred to me to actually have a personal blog until today.  I can do whatever I want, because - who cares?

Saunter over to the "About Me" page if you want to know a little more about me (and I do mean little, I didn't write much).  Otherwise, join me in discussion on anything and everything.