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Sunday
Apr092017

MTV: "Yes, we're still here."

There's this article that popped up on Facebook for me about MTV Movie and TV Awards are now going to non-gender categories. Link is here. I have one major problem with this move. It seems like a desperate attempt to make MTV look relevant again. Maybe they really are concerned with having categories that fit all gender identities, but I doubt it. Especially when they are also adding two new categories: Best American Story and Best Fight Against The System.

The article also questions if other award shows should do it. My initial reaction was, whatever, I don't care. Which is still my reaction. But, if the Oscars were to do that, it would be a disaster and roles that should have been nominated might not be and the whole thing is going to be more political than it already is.

Let's say they do it and just call it Best Acting Performance in a Drama. There remain 5 nominations like their are now. It's a male dominated industry, so the first year it's 3 males and 2 females. It stays like that for a few years. Then one year, it's 4 males and 1 female. There's outrage and because the Supporting Acting Performance was 3 males and 2 females, and only 1 female director was nominated (because that generally seems to happen, as there aren't that many female directors in Hollywood, which is a different conversation all together) the Oscars are deemed sexist and too male heavy. The masses want to boycott this one and even though they get Ellen to host, it's deemed a dated ceremony and the worst part of this country. Now, the following year, to recoupe their image, The Academy actively makes sure that the nominations are 4 females and 1 male in the Best Acting, 3 females and 2 males in Supporting, and their are 2 female directors. It doesn't matter what performances were out there. Maybe David Spade finally broke through in Dramas and Danny DeVito directed the best comedy since Airplane, but it doesn't matter because now we have to make sure the Oscars don't seem too gender-bias. And we caused all of this, because someone wanted to fix a problem that wasn't really a problem, because you can technically submit into either gender-based category.

So, I can see all that happening. Or, I can see them going, okay, we'll combine them and have 10 nominations and they basically just keep splitting it down the middle with 5 male nominations and 5 female nominations. Then it's just a hollow gesture that does nothing except increase the number of people saying "It's an honor to be nominated" by one actor/actress.

I imagine we won't have to worry about this ever actually happening as The Oscars probably aren't taking Award Ceremony Advice from MTV, otherwise we wouldn't have Best Foreign Language Film and there'd be a Best Shirtless Scene category in it's place. And my prediction is that in a couple years or so, MTV will make the annoucement that they are going back to gender-categories just to make sure they pop up in people's news feeds again.

Wednesday
Feb152017

What I've Been Reading: Preacher

Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon is a comic series I've wanted to read for a long time now. I was a big fan of their work on Punisher back in at the turn of the century. I liked their Punisher MAX series, but more so, the storyline "Welcome Back, Frank." I think that's about when I wanted to read the Preacher and it took me 16 years, but I finally read the whole thing.

I shouldn't have waited so long to read it. Perhaps if I had read it 15 years ago, I would have liked it more. Also, maybe if I had more of an idea what it was about. Expectations, especially expectations that extend over a long period of time - especially a decade, can really ruin an experience. I had 15 years of wanting to read this story, hearing in many places how good it was, and thinking that it focused a lot more on Heaven and Hell and a secret organization called the Grail led by Herr Starr who was voted as a top villain in some Wizard Magazine list a long time ago.

The basic premise of Preacher is that Jesse Custer, a man with a checkered past whose a preacher, gets possessed by a being that escaped from Heaven called Genesis. Yada, yada, yada. Jesse is traveling to find God with Cassidy, a vampire, and Jesse's girlfriend, Tulip. They're being chased by the organization, The Grail, that has something to do with protecting the bloodline of Jesus. 

Preacher wasn't a bad series. Obviously, a lot of people still hold it in high regard as it was just made into a TV Series over at AMC. The problem I had was that it wasn't what I was expecting. There were large patches of time where the idea of Genesis, God, and the inner-workings of Heaven were barely mentioned. The parts that were mentioned, I very much enjoyed because I like the alterations to the mythology I was raised on. It was the in-between parts that I didn't enjoy as much.

For example, there are several issues in which Jesse Custer becomes the sheriff of a small town and fights a weird, racist little guy who runs a meat factory and his assistant is a dominatrix Nazi. That's great and all, but I just wanted them to get back to Jesse going after God. To me, the 66 issues could have been cut down to less than 50. At times, the side stories were still good, and a nice exploration of culture in America, but it wasn't what I expected.

I still recommend people read Preacher, but don't wait 15 years. Don't read it or anything whose expectations have had more than a decade to fester and grow. It'll never live up to the image you've had in your mind.

Friday
Feb102017

Decisions

I've been quiet a couple days and broke my goal. There's a good reason for that. I had a decision to make.

What that decision was, I won't get into, but it doesn't really matter. I hoping it means good things.

Decisions though are a part of life. We all have to make them and most are small. "What do you want for dinner?" Once in a while, they are bigger. "What do you think we should do about Russia, Mr. President?" Mine was a bigger one, not quite that big though.

How do we make the bigger decisions? We take all the information we have and process it and process it and process it. Over and over again we mull over things to the point in which our loved ones just want us to decide. That's how my wife was. She was tired of me bringing it up.

Did I make the right decision? I think so. Unfortunately, it was the worst kind of decision to make. Not quite a Sophie's Choice. It was between Trump and Hilary. Neither choice is ideal, but one is clearly better than the other. It all depends on where your priorities sit. And I made one based on mine, which we were my mental health, my sanity, and the relationship with my wife. I think I made the right one and this choice will get me back on the right track. Further developments to come.

Tuesday
Feb072017

I thought of another dream

I've been up since a little after five and couldn't go back to sleep. So of course I watched a couple episodes of The West Wing. And I realized in the episode "Hartsfield Landing" that I did in fact have at least one more childhood dream. I've always wanted to learn how to play chess.

In the episode, President Bartlett gives chessboards from India to Toby and Sam. It's a nice allegory to the potential incident that's happpening around China and Taiwan. It's a great device in the episode, but it reminded me that for a long time, I wanted to learn how to play chess because it seemed like all the smart people on TV and in movies played chess. It seemed like all the smart people in the world play chess, or at least know how to play. You could have all the knowledge in the world, but if you didn't know how to play chess, you weren't smart.

Although, I suppose if you had all the knowledge in the world, that would include the rules of chess. But you get my point. I don't think that adage was ever true. It was probably something my young mind just made up. If it ever was an adage, I doubt it's still true. I don't really hear anyone talk about chess these days. I don't think it's ever stopped me from appearing smart. No one I know has ever approached me about playing a game of chess where I had to politely say: "I'm sorry. I don't know how to play." Then their view of me changes.

Maybe one day, I'll learn how to play just for something to do, but I probably have better things to do with my time these days.

Monday
Feb062017

Childhood Dreaming

Day 2 and I'm not really sure what to write. I knew this was going to be difficult. I'm basically trying to fish around in my head, take an incomplete thought, and sort it out in this format. It's like when a guy goes into Shark Tank and is pre-sales. Actually, it's worse than that.

One thing I've been thinking about lately are childhood dreams. Last week I read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It's an amazing story. For those not familiar with it, Randy Pausch was a professor diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given just a few months to live. The book is based on his "Last Lecture" that he gave and is available on YouTube. (I haven't watched it yet, because if the book is an indication it's going to be emotionally rough to watch.) Randy is essentially distilling all his knowledge about life into the smallest pieces so he can share it with his children before he goes.

Randy talks a lot about how he made his childhood dreams come true in some form or another. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what my childhood dreams were. Did I have so many that they just never cemented themselves in my memory? Did I give up on them early and not bother remembering them? Or did I not have that many? There's a few of them that I can think of, but they just seem like normal kid stuff, like being an astronaut and going into space, or being able to become Batman.

I guess if I had to find one in my memories, in it's truest form, I wanted to be a storyteller. I wanted to write and draw comic books. I watched a VHS tape called How To Draw The Marvel Way, but never quite got that good. I tried, but I gave up to easily. I wanted to make a movie once using my GI Joe action figures. My dad somehow got a hold of a camera and I did it. I don't think I ever watched it, but it's still somewhere in my parents house. I would make up elaborate stories and tales, sometimes for entertainment, sometimes at school to seem interesting and because I was bored.

I wanted to create things and build things. I build a play set for by actions figures out of K'Nex. Actually, I built a few different versions of them. They were great. Multiple levels and I would mock up, jail cells for the bad guys and computer terminals.

In the end, I guess my childhood dream could be distilled into one word: creator. And now that I realize that, maybe I've already, in someway at least, achieved my childhood dream. Now, I just need to find a way to make some money achieving that dream, instead of doing it for free. But at least I'm doing it, that alone counts as an achievement.