Friday, August 31, 2012

A Long Weekend Means a Long Absence

A long weekend seems like a fine time to declare a family vacation, so that is what I'm doing.  But Emily seems to have an odd quirk where she doesn't like me spending all my "family time" in front of the computer.  So, I won't be doing that, which means I'm disappearing from the blog and other social media until Wednesday.  Don't worry, I know you can survive 5 days without me.  So, have yourself a delightful long weekend, and I'll see you Wednesday.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

21 Reasons Why Being Single is More Awesome Than a Relationship

Yes, I know I'm married.  I am actually happily married.  I love being married.  It is the greatest thing ever.  So, I sort of realize how it seems incredibly odd that I choose to write an article like this.  But even though I think marriage is more awesome than awesome itself, I also realize that being single can rock its own kind of 50 flavours of awesome.  It seems that sometimes the single person doesn't realize what a sweet deal they having going for themselves.  I know 10 years ago that I didn't truly appreciate the awesomeness that was life as a single.  I sometimes wish I could find a time machine and go back to my old self and say, "Dude, stop fretting about finding someone.  Your wife is going to be amazing.  Right now just rock the single life and appreciate your freedom."  Then I'd ask myself for $20.00, because it can be expensive when you're married and have a kid.

Anyway, there are many reasons why being single is actually awesome, and if you're single, this is why you should enjoy it while it lasts.  Here are 21 of the things that make being single a rather fine way to spend your time.

1.  If you're not going out of the house for the day then being "a smelly, disgusting slob wearing nothing but underwear and the stains from last night's Doritos and beer" is absolutely acceptable home attire.

2.  You don't have to arm yourself for the yearly "whose family are we spending Christmas Day with" war.

3.  The bed is more than a mere corner, and you never have to violently tug at the covers in the middle of the night.

4.  You want to take an impulsive trip down to Boston and spend half your life savings on clam chowder and beer?  Go for it.

5.  You don't need to form a committee to decide what shows will be watched each evening and when video games will be allowed to be played.

6.  You can super-size your fries and add bacon to your burger without being reminded you "already had a very big breakfast today, hon."

7.  One dish.  One bowl.  One fork.  One spoon.  One plate.  Laundry once a month. 

8.  Unless you really like talking to yourself, you never have to respond to an invitation with, "Let me go ask if we're free that day."

9.  You actually have a reason for why you're not having sex.

10.  You're doing things on the weekend because you actually like to do them.

11.  You can splurge on the latest expensive technology with almost no guilt, because your depleted bank account will only affect you. . . and your landlord.  But he is a jerk anyway.

12.  You don't need to prepare a 30 page defense after blurting out, "Whoa, that person is really hot."

13.  The underwear and socks all over the couch?  Yours. 

14.  "Tax Day" is the only date you'll get in trouble for forgetting.

15.  You don't have to pretend you're interested in HGTV or the Food Network.  Or for others, pretend that you're okay with an entire afternoon devoted to football.

16.  You can open up your fridge and not worry about eating "company food."

17.  You can order a meal at a restaurant and know you'll actually get to eat the entire thing yourself.

18. "When do you need to be home?"  "Actually, my rent is due, so I decided I'm just going move to Las Vegas now."

19.  Before you go out, you never have to utter the words, "Does this outfit match with what you're wearing?"

20.  Every single weekend gets to be, "Ignore the dishes, order nothing but pizza, drink all the beer in the house, and watch the entire Die Hard series" day.  The day can obviously be altered depending on gender and preferences.

21. "Would you like the last one?" are words you'll never feel obligated to say after you bought the package of cookies for yourself.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Your Wednesday Evening Question of Profound Profoundness

I was going to post on here more today than just my article pimpage, but then I didn't.  So, here we are at the final hours of the day, and all you had to entertain you were two articles by me and maybe a gerbil.  If you own a gerbil.  Or if you left wood chips out and it decided to make a home in them.  Either way, I hope you had the necessary tools and animals to fight off the boredom.

Anyway, my subject header promised a question.  I'll give you one of those, and then you can answer it or ask it to a friend.  Or a gerbil.  Which could be the same thing, actually.

If you had the power to go back in time and convince a director/producer/executive to replace an actor in a film role then what film, actor and role would you choose?

My choice?

Denzel Washington in Running Man in the lead role of Ben Richards.  It would have completely changed the dynamic of the film.  Yes, I realize Denzel wasn't a star back in 1987.  I also realize I wasted my choice on an action film.  Well, I think the script and film would have been much deeper and closer to the book if you has someone like Denzel.  So there.

Your turn. 

Edit: I apparently thought it was Thursday when I was writing this.  Must have been a longer day than I thought.  I've now changed it to the proper day. 

Premium Rush Review

The summer blockbuster season is over, which means the studios have unleashed most of their big budget spectacles.  For the next few months, we'll likely get films with smaller budgets and a lot less hype.  This doesn't mean there aren't going to be worthwhile films.  During this time period, some of the real classics quietly slip through.  But is Premium Rush one of those kind of films?  You can find out in today's Collective Publishing film review.

When Cuteness Trumps Productivity

During certain times in the week, Emily needs me to look after Everett.  I usually still don't have all my pay copy done for the day, or I have work that I want to do in order to get ahead.  I've managed to have moments where I'm really productive even though I'm the sole parent looking after Everett.  But then there are those other times.  By the time Emily comes home, I'll be even farther buried in pay copy, because I accomplished nothing.  Well, nothing when it comes to writing.  Sometimes, there are things way more important than writing.  In today's Dad's Eye View, I talk all about these other times. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You Still Haven't Got Your Daily Everett Fix?

Just in case you missed it, I've already shown pictures of Everett cuddling with cute barnyard animals today.

But if you must see more of Everett, then. . .

I'm pretty sure that is enough sweetness for one day.  You'll have to skip dessert.  Sorry.

One Family's Adventure at the CNE

Any of my readers who just sit by their computer screen and wait for my blog to get updated will know that I vanished from the internet for the weekend.  This isn't really the rarest occurrence, but my more date aware readers will notice that I published my notorious "gone for the weekend" post Friday morning.  Yet I had a whole day before the apparent weekend would be upon us all.  What could I have ever been doing on a Friday?

Well, going to the CNE, of course.  Or as the hip Ontario folks like to call it, The Ex.  As for anyone who isn't from Canada or even Ontario, CNE stands for the Canadian National Exhibition.  It is tradition for most in Southern Ontario to make the trek to this fair on steroids at the end of every August.  We need our deep fried Mars bars, our overpriced midway rides, and opportunity to shop for items after already paying $16.00 to enter.  It is just our duty as Ontarians.

Now, I realize it is a little bold for us to call it the Canadian National Exhibition, when it is always held in the same province and in the same city.  It is probably better to be called "Toronto's Big Ass Fair but We Won't Call It a Fair Because That Makes Us Sound Rural."  Though it doesn't really roll off the tongue, and takes a little longer to say than The Ex.  Plus it is held in Toronto and any Torontonian will tell you that they live in the centre of the universe, so they're essentially all of Canada anyway.  It only makes sense to call it the Canadian National Exhibition because Toronto represents a whole country.  Of course, Toronto is also unaware why the rest of Canada thinks they're assholes.  Oh well.

No matter what you want to call it, we went to it.  The $16.00 per person does seem a little steep.  Especially since you still need to pay for food and drinks, you have to pay for any of the games or rides, and half the venues are full of vendors hawking stuff.  It can get to be an expensive day out.  But the one thing that does make it a worthwhile stop is the large number of shows, and some of them are really high quality.  You watch two or three of them, and you've easily got your money's worth.  Though you may still leave the place scratching your head over how that slice of pizza was worth 8 bucks.

Speaking of food, this was the first thing we did once we arrived.  This was partly because it happened to be lunch time, but mostly because I'm fat and I get hungry a lot.  So, we went to the Food Pavilion, which is basically as advertised. It is full of both well-known restaurants, famous fair vendors, and more obscure places I only ever see here.  You could spend half a day just examining the expansive wasteland of deep fried majesticness, and if you're like me, you could also easily get lost and be forced to wander halls for eternity (or until a security guard kindly tells you it is time to go home).  Luckily, I stuck with my wife, and we decided to keep our excursion down to about a half hour.  My goal was to find something super unhealthy and super filling, but Emily apparently didn't get my memo.  She bought some Asian taco thingies that we were supposedly sharing.  I finished my portion in about four bites, and was ready for round two.

The friends we came with wanted to see some celebrity chef person, who may be on the Food Network.  Emily does watch that channel, and I'll catch the occasional snippets.  I don't really know any of the names on the show, and usually don't stick around unless it is about trying to eat a burger bigger than your face or about "fine dining" from a food truck.  Emily and I voted to part ways from our friends for a bit, and do some investigating.

I'm not sure if Emily quite understood that "investigating" actually meant "going to look for those food trucks that apparently are at The Ex today, because I'm still starving after those puny tacos."  So, we wandered and soaked up the sites, but meanwhile, I was scanning the place for the fabled trucks that serve specialty food.

We finally found the trucks, and let me declare my love to them and my desire to marry them.  I never knew that there were food trucks that offered up more than "street meat" until I stumbled upon a show called Eat St.  It was this show where I learned there are food trucks all over North America that make original food with fresh ingredients, and usually the meals are a different take on fast food or food-to-go.

I spent another 15 minutes trying to decide which truck would have the honour of filling my ever expanding belly.  I chose a place called Urban Smoke, and I bought a "Midway Dog".  Except it is nothing like your traditional hot dog or what I'd ever bought at a midway.  It was a hot dog that also had a heaping helping of pulled pork and also chili on it.  It was two of the greatest type of sandwiches uniting to make one epic meal of goodness.  It also had a bunch of fresh ingredients, and things that the more refined would notice and appreciate.  I was just happy with the huge helping of pork products and the tasty chili slopped on top.  Urban Smoke is my new best friend, and one day, I hope to track it down again.  I think, they operate in Toronto, but this was my first special encounter with them.  They sure do know how to fill a man up after he wasted time nibbling on some food claiming to be a taco.

Since I ate an epic hot dog, it was now time for a dog show.  Super Dogs.  This is a President's Choice sponsored troupe of dogs that I believe tours Canada.  I am pretty sure this was only my second time watching it, but there is a chance I blanked an experience out after being traumatized over accidentally eating a Chihuahua's food and then being covered in drool by his best friend the St. Bernard as revenge.  Otherwise, I've only been to one other show, but it was cool to see that they try to change up their program a bit.  We did see some new acts, and a few new breeds.

My favourite part of the show was watching Everett get entranced by the flashing lights, and then start bopping up and down as he danced to the blaring music.  Then he suddenly realized there were dogs running around on stage and his face lit up with an amazing smile.  You could tell he wasn't really sure what the dogs were doing, but it was a confirmation my son is a big fan of animals.  He even got to see a dog like Summit -- a Bernese mountain dog.  The dog did a rather good impression of Summit, as he wouldn't stop barking at his owner because he knew she had treats but wasn't offering them up.  Emily and I got a great kick watching the dog since all his mannerism resembled our beloved furry son.

At the end of the show, the audience is allowed to come down on the floor and the kids gets to shove their hands into the faces of the dogs.  Since I have a child now, I felt it was my duty to include him in the hand shoving.  One particular dog actually pushed his head past all the children's cotton candy coated hands so that he could poke his head at Everett, and the dog seemed quite interested in a baby.  Everett of course did his duty and grabbed at the dog's ear.

I think, at this point I was ready to eat again, but we ended up going to see an ice show instead.  Actually, we spent twenty minute debating if we should go to the ice show or the petting zoo, and then another five minutes panicking that there wasn't much more time left before our friends had to leave.  It appears this wouldn't be the most efficient use of time, but it isn't The Ex unless you're incredibly rushed and getting into arguments over what to do next.  It is a provincial law.

The ice show ended up being quite a spectacle and a show that is well worth the price to get to the CNE.  I should note that we didn't actually pay to get into the CNE, despite the fact I've spent 10% of this post complaining about the cost.  The added benefit of having a baby is that you can distract female security guards while your spouse hops the fence and then threatens some elderly couple for their ticket stubs.  Or you know, you have friends who got a really good deal for a party of four.

About that ice show, I was excited to see this, because the last time we came, it was the best show we saw.  This time around it had Canadian Olympic darlings Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.  I actually was surprised that they only ended up doing about three routines, and most of the show was performed by other skaters.  Despite the headliners only doing a cameo, it was a top notch show that actually offered up more acts than just skating routines.  I'm not really sure if Everett caught most of this show, because he had more important things to do like drain mommy of milk and then after that, felt he needed to just hop and bounce to the music.

The skating was high quality, but there was also an incredible trampoline routine.  I'm pretty sure I can't get you to appreciate how amazing it is by describing it.  Instead, I'll just say "three jumpers, three small windows, and no collisions."  If you're thinking of still catching The Ex, this is the show to see.  There was also a guy who was raised up in the air on two ropes and did a whole spinny and flippy routine (the official name for this routine) that actually got my heart pumping a few times.  The show offered up a good variety of acts, and it was a lot of fun.  It may be even easier to watch if you don't have a baby flattening your legs for half of it.

After the ice show, it was time to act like a parent.  We voted to go over to the children's section of the CNE.  Everett is only 8 months old, and so there isn't even much for him to do there.  Not that it matters much, because you can dangle keys in front of his face and keep him entertained for ten minutes.  It isn't like we're ever begging for things to entertain our son.  He seemed to just have a blast staring at all the bright lights and watching the rides blow past him.  He definitely was intrigued by this magical place he found himself in, and was trying to soak up as much scenery as possible.  But I still felt we needed to take him to the children's section, and what I really wanted to do, is see if he enjoyed the petting zoo.  He seems to really enjoy looking at animals, so I thought there might be a chance he'd like looking at a goat or horse.  Plus it gave me a chance to find out if my son was braver than me.  There is a picture of me as a baby where I'm a ball of tears while my dad lifts me up against a horse that seems intent on nibbling on my toes.

I've talked many times about how a certain event with Everett quickly becomes one of the most amazing moments of my life.  I just love watching the wonder in my son's eyes.  I love seeing the joy he gets when he encounters something new for the first time.  The petting zoo has now quickly shot up as one of the coolest moments ever in my life, and it was one of those great moments as a new parent.

I put Everett down to the fence where a goat then poked his head through.  Everett let out one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen.  The goat then started to sniff Everett, and he started to squeal and laugh and giggle.  He then started to grab at the goat and try to hug its face.  The goat then started to sniff his feet and then realized baby's feet are great for nibbling.  Everett then responded with a roaring laughter that I'd never heard before.  My son was absolutely delighted and was in love with these animals.  We then ended up spending 30 minutes at the petting zoo, and Everett wanted to touch and hug as many animals as possible.  I'm pretty sure this was the happiest moment in Everett's short little life.  Emily says that I laughed more than Everett, but I couldn't help feeling like a kid and being filled with joy over seeing how authentically happy my son was.  It was one of those truly magical moments.

Everett even went face to face with the horse.  He kept his laughter and smiles.  There was no crying in this petting zoo.  He handled things better than his daddy when he first encountered farm animals.  My son seems to be a Beastmaster in training.

Now, I know we ate after the petting zoo.  It was from another food truck called The Blue Donkey.  Oh wait, actually it may have been from some other place that served seafood.  But don't worry, we did eat at The Blue Donkey too.  You must eat at a place with that name.  Over the next few hours, we enjoyed great fare like feta fries, fish tacos, a calamari pita, and a dessert that was fried pita with honey (way better than my description makes it sound).  My belly and taste buds were happy.

We spent the evening as just a family since our friends had to go.  Everett's favourite things were to listening to the dings and rings of the midway games, watching the flashing lights, and laughing at all the people.  Since those things aren't as entertaining when you get past two years old, we also went to a show with Chinese acrobats.  Or something like that.  They didn't really do what I'd call acrobatics, but it was a really impressive show.  The choreography was top notch, and they twisted their bodies in ways that even made my back sore.  There were some pretty impressive feats of strength like lifting each other high in the air with their head or one hand or arching their back while someone else stood on them.  It was very impressive, and that half hour contained more athleticism and skill than I've displayed in my 34 years alive.

We then bought about 6 children's books.  Because there was a deal and that is what a parent who is a writer does.  I promise you many more children's books will be purchased over time.  The Ex is always great for good deals for this type of product.  Sadly, there wasn't any books that interested me, since last time I picked up about four or so books for myself.  Maybe this is just a sign I'm a parent now, and I'm more apt to spend on my child than myself.

So, this was my Friday.  This was my son's first adventure to The Ex.  We don't go every year.  Even with Everett, I'm sure I'll pass some years.  It was a fun day.  I know the place will be even more exciting when Everett can appreciate it more.

My final opinion of The Ex?  A great place to take your family, and there is a reason I went almost every year as a child.  But it is a glorified fair.  Sorry, Toronto.

But man, I need to hunt down those food trucks.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Not a Good Weekend for Armstrongs

Some of the major news this weekend revolved around people with the last name Armstrong, but it wasn't the jolliest of occurrences.

1.  Neil Armstrong passed away on Saturday (August 25) at the age of 82.  I'm pretty sure Armstrong is one of the few people in this world that I don't need to explain who he is to anyone who could be reading this blog.  This man achieved a dream that has been held for almost every super imaginative child in North America.  He lived out something that most of us only read in books or would day dream about during "Mad Minutes".  Now, my space dreams usually involved fighting alongside Luke Skywalker or traversing a planet full of galactic dinosaurs.  Even if Neil Armstrong didn't make it all the way to Tatooine, he still got farther than almost anyone else that has ever lived on this planet.  He also did it first.

You could decide to be cynical and cite how it was political and Cold War fueled when the "Eagle" landed on July 20, 1969.  But on July 21, 1969, it was pure magic when Neil Armstrong became the first ever person to step on the moon.  He then spoke what is one of the most famous words ever, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."  Sure, it likely all happened when it did because of the space race with the USSR, but nobody was thinking that when they were witnessing this historic moment.

I'll never be able to fully appreciate that moment or that day.  I've only been able to read about it or watch grainy news footage of it.  I was eight years away from being born.  I can't truly appreciate what it must have felt like to witness live that a man was walking on the moon.  I'm sure it was a huge morale boost to a nation, and an event that allowed several children to dream.  I am sure there was a young girl even watching that thought to herself, "One day I'll be the first woman to walk on the moon."  You can argue that this event didn't accomplish much in the grand scheme of things, or doesn't deserve the hype it receives.  But then I argue you really don't get it.  This was one of those moments that reminded us that the sky isn't the limit, because we can go way beyond that.  Dreams can be realized, and the unimaginable can be accomplished.

I grew up in a world where a man had already walked on the moon.  I lived in a world where one of the most popular themes in science fiction had already become reality.  For a young boy who had an over active imagination, this opened up a whole new world of fantasy and dreaming.  If we got on the moon in 1969, then I was sure we would be flying cars by the time I was an adult and have the chance to share a doughnut with a Wookiee.  As a kid, I was sure that Armstrong's achievement was proof that there were no limits on what could be done.  I knew many people probably in his life tried to shatter his dreams or argue he wouldn't do great things, but now he is one of the most acclaimed of historical figures.  He did something that would have been deemed almost impossible a few decades before.

This is why I think we will still see some major technological and scientific achievements in this lifetime.  Just think back what 1969 was like, when we put a man on the moon, and how far we've even advanced since then.  I realize we aren't flying cars or eating dinner with species from another planet, but we are talking to people through video or instantly able to find a library's worth of knowledge.  We've done amazing feats, and Neil Armstrong is one of the symbols that proved it can be done.  He is an icon for human achievement, but he will always be a symbol for dreaming too.

I won't ever go on the moon or be responsible for some monumental scientific achievement.  My imagination has soared because of events like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.  It is why I've enjoyed things like science fiction.  Science fiction has always allowed us to believe there could be more and that there really isn't a limit to our potential or future.  He followed a dream that many thought couldn't be achieved.  I am following a dream of writing, which isn't as ambitious.  I am sure many of my future fiction tales will have been inspired by major science breakthroughs like Neil Armstrong's moment on the moon.  He should be remembered not only for his major feat, but also for doing something that encouraged us all to dream and believe we can do anything.

On a less inspirational note, NBC tried to break the news with a headline declaring that astronaut Neil Young died.  I am sure this was startling news to Young.  First of all, he would have been quite shocked to discover that he wasn't actually a famous musician, but has better known as an astronaut all these years,  I'm sure he was wondering what powerful stuff had been smoking in the '70s to have that event totally wiped from the memory banks.  Then he'd been even more shocked and likely bummed to read he was also dead.

That is enough kicking of poor NBC.  I'd rather just thank Neil Armstrong for allowing my childhood imagination to soar.  For being partly responsible for me believing that I really can do remarkable things.  That belief is a powerful thing for a child, and actually, it is just as powerful for a 34 year old man.

RIP Neil Armstrong, but I know you're memory and legacy will live forever.

2.  Lance Armstrong didn't die, but his battle against doping charges has.  He announced that he is no longer fighting against the allegations that he took enhancement drugs throughout his cycling career.  The kicker is that US Anti-Doping Agency has taken his surrender as an admission of guilt.  Despite the fact Armstrong still claims he is innocent, he now has to suffer like the guilty.  This means he has been levied with a lifetime ban from professional cycling, which isn't too harsh when you're retired, but he also has been stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles.

Now, there is probably still chance things won't end up that harsh.  But there is a good chance this sentence will stick.  It does look like Armstrong's legacy will be tarnished and that many have already decided that his decision to quit fighting is proof he was guilty.

I'm not going to go that far.  I can't ever assume I know the man or understand what he is thinking.  I also don't know if this several year fight has caused harm to his personal life or if it has ended up being extremely costly for him financially.  I admit it is surprising that someone would give up on something that can permanently damage a reputation and legacy that he worked so hard to build, but I really don't know what he is going through.  I think it is unfair to assume this is an admission of guilt, but I totally understand why most would see it that way.  I know that if I'd created several bestselling novels, but suddenly plagiarism charges came up, I'd fight to the very end if I knew I was innocent.  It always seems odd when the innocent gives up, but I am also convinced there must be more damaging factors we're unaware of.

3.  This wasn't news that came about this weekend, but I wanted to make this article have 3 points.  The other big Armstrong news that I know of, is we'll likely have a Stretch Armstrong movie by 2014.  Yes, that toy that was created in 1976 of a guy whose limbs could be pulled really far.  It is simply a stretchy doll of an almost naked man.  To my knowledge, there is no back story or any literature on this character.  He is just a stretchy toy that was incredibly popular for a few years.  Popular because he was stretchy.  I understand how you may wonder how this translates to box office gold.  Apparently when Hollywood isn't busy making remakes or adapting '80s TV shows into films, they're turning to popular toys.  But after Battleship flopped in North America, you'd think they'd be a bit more hesitant to jump on cherished childhood artifacts.  I also heard there have been talks to adapt both Monopoly and Candy Land into films.  I'm assuming in 2020, I'll be taking Everett to see the live action thriller, Slinky.  Seriously Hollywood, I am sure people will come to cinemas to see original films.  You just need a solid script and a trailer that captivates rather than reveals the whole plot (or just causes people migraines when trying to sort out what is happening).

I also am not sure the target demographic knows who Stretch Armstrong is.  I doubt turning that property into a film is even worthwhile.  I'm sure some of my older cousins played with the toy, but I don't think that would cause them to go, "I remember wrapping that toy's arms around my sister when I was four, and now, I can't wait to see a film about this toy that became a dog chew toy when I was five."  I'm pretty hesitant that this is the property that people have been begging to be turned into film, and I see it being slightly less successful than The Master of Disguise.  Just because we remember something as a child, doesn't me we want to pay money to see it on the big screen. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Now I Hide Until Monday. . .

Well, I won't actually be hiding.  I have things to do and places to be.  But as far you'll know, I'll be crouched in the closet and giggling to myself while no one knows where I am for a few days.

But honestly, that isn't what I'm doing.

I'll instead be imitating someone who has a life, and will going out for several social engagements.  Then I'll try to take care of some pay copy, because that allows me the luxury of social engaging.

I hope you have a good weekend.  I plan to have exactly that.  I'll be back here on Monday.  See you then. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

You Know It is Time for a Haircut and Shave When. . .

People on the street come up to you and stroke your head and scratch you behind your ears while saying, "You're a good boy" in a baby voice.

It may be time to stop trying to become Samson and put a razor to my hairs.

On the other hand, the cookie they gave me was delicious. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Classic Works of Fiction with Glaring Plot Holes

One of my favourite things to do in college was to watch awful movies and laugh at all the atrocious plot holes and leaps of logic.  Bad films exist because they're littered with plot holes.  But sometimes, classic works of fiction have plot holes that are just as massive and glaring.  We just ignore them because the work is so loved.  Today is the day to point out some of the most gaping plot holes in classic works.  In today's Collective Publishing article, I look at some of the most beloved classics with chasm sized plot holes.  Let me know on the site's comment section which classics you've noticed with some major plot holes. 

Who is Everett the Most Like?

I am constantly told how much Everett looks like me.  The old baby pictures of me only confirms that fact.  But there is more to a person than just their looks.  Everett is already showing what his personality is like.  So, in today's "Dad's Eye View" I analyze where Everett got all his various quirks and traits.  Let me know if you agree, or tell me who your little cherub is the most like over in the comments.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Finally, It Will Be The Office's Final Season

I've whined before that The Office should have packed up shop when Steve Carell left the show.  Now, producer Greg Daniels is promising that this will be the final season.  I couldn't be happier with that news.  I think that if there is an end game on the horizon and they don't need to worry about stretching things out for more years, then there is a strong chance this series can end on a positive note.  It hasn't been the high caliber show that snagged a loyal following for a long time, but I'm now hopeful that I can go back to watching this show because I enjoy it rather than it is just something I do at 9:00 on a Thursday.

If the series doesn't get back on track, then I at least know things are wrapping up now.  Though I'm not sure what major story arcs are still dangling about, but Daniels appears to think there are major stories that need to be resolved.  I've always thought the problem for the last few years has been that all the important stuff has found a satisfying conclusion, and now the show has just been going through the motions.  But I'll give Daniels some benefit of the doubt, and trust that he has some smoking stories lined up.  It would be cool if the long term fans are rewarded with some little Easter eggs or resolutions to some sidebar events and mysteries that have built up over the years.  Though I do have to say that I'd rather they didn't reveal the documentary crew, and think that will just clutter things up more.  But again I'll let it play out.

I'm going to slip over to the optimistic side, and have hope we are in store for a classic season of The Office.  Oh please oh please, don't make me regret being positive.


Since I'm talking TV, I just want to throw in the recent announcement that Blair from the Facts of Life is on Survivor this year.  And for sport fans, retired Major Leaguer Jeff Kent is joining in on the fun.  But for the children of the '80s, it is kind of cool to see Lisa Whelchel (actor who played Blair) join the show.  I totally had a small TV crush on Blair back when that show was in first run.  I think it mainly came from the fact that my dad has a things for blondes, and so, I was convinced blonde was the colour that I must crush on.  Anyway, I'm still going to root for her, even if older females usually are one of the first to go.

As You Can See, We're a Little Busy at the Moment. . .

So, don't be surprised if this is one of those MIA days.  Hope you're having a terrific Tuesday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

RIP Tony Scott: A Man Who Probably Made a Film You Really Liked

I'll forgive if you don't know who Tony Scott is.  But I'll be absolutely stunned if you aren't aware of any of his work.  If you're any kind of fan of film, then you also likely know his brother, Ridley Scott.  Tony, like his brother, was also a director, even if not as well known.

Sadly, Tony Scott committed suicide yesterday after jumping off a bridge.  The reason seems to be that he had inoperable brain cancer, which is an awful affliction to have.  I don't know a lot of Tony Scott, and so I can't properly eulogize him.  I do want you to quickly check out a small tribute written by John Scalzi on his blog.

I wasn't really aware of Scott's career, but I did know and love a lot of the films he directed.  I'd bet the slightly expired can of mayo in my fridge that the majority of you also enjoyed many of his films and watched a few repeatedly.

Raise your hand if you never heard of Top Gun?  Now, raise your hand if you only raised your hand before to be an ass?  Yeah, I thought so.  Top Gun is one of the iconic '80 films.  Even if you never saw it, you definitely heard of it, and perceive it to be one of the star making films for Tom Cruise.  It is likely Tony Scott's most well-known film, but he has made many others that I'm sure many of you love.

Scalzi in his article mentioned True Romance and Crimson Tide as his favourites.  I wouldn't argue against either being great films you waste an afternoon away with.  Tide is one of those films that you always stop flipping through the channels and are compelled to at least watch ten or so minutes.  It was a great suspense films, and had marvelous performances from Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman.

But Scott has made several films that prove that he made smart action/thrillers.  He wasn't trying to make the greatest films in history or even Oscar contenders, but he did make fun actions films that were more sophisticated than a lot of the typical fare.

Spy Game was one of those films that presented a lot of the classic action and suspense tropes you expected, but also demanded that you think.  I remember watching that film several times with my roommate of many years ago, and for a while, it was probably my go to "I can't sleep and I need something to watch to waste away these late hours" film.  I also think this is the movie that helped me start to respect Brad Pitt as an accomplished actor, and reminded me why Robert Redford is one of the most respected actors over the last several decades.  They created believable and powerful characters, but it was the plotting and direction that really made this a stand out thriller.  It is smart and engaging, but more importantly, extremely entertaining.  There really aren’t too many other films that have this style.  It was scared to be critical of the government or offers up some that delicious shades of grey.  This is definitely another, "I've stopped flipping the channels, because this movie made me forget what I was looking for."

Enemy of the State isn't a critical darling, but I remember having a blast when I saw it in the theatres back in 1998.  I can't claim it was a star making film, because Will Smith was already a box office hit at that point.  I remember it being a film that offered up the action and thrills, but also had a more intricate plot to follow than the normal blockbuster films of that year.  It also wasn't a film that just offered up twists for the sake of having twists.  The plot points were thought out, and the revelations were satisfying.  It has been over a decade since I've seen this film, but I do think it is one of the truly underrated action thrillers of the 90s.

Speaking of underrated, The Last Boy Scout has never been called a classic.  It isn't Bruce Willis's best action film, because Die Hard will always claim that crown.  This film is far better than critics ever claimed.  I think it was grittier and more violent than people were expecting.  Maybe it had more shades of grey than the audience wanted.  The film is an enjoyable action ride.  I think it is one of Willis’s best performances outside of Die Hard

Ridley Scott is known as being an amazing visual director.  His brother wasn't any slouch either.  He didn't do any films with epic scenery or massive scope.  He did create enticing and visually impressive scenes that fit well into the world that was needed for his films.  He didn't do films about empires or new futuristic worlds.  He usually stuck to one city or a submarine.  He still shot beautiful scenes that triggered emotions and helped you get engrossed into that world.  He really was underrated.

I haven't mentioned all his films.  I'm sure there are other ones that you own and love.  I encouraged you to Google him, and see what films he created that you love.  Then you know, rewatch them.  That really is the best way to the honour the memory of a great director.

RIP, Tony Scott.  I'm sad you won't make any more films.  I will enjoy the great movies you left behind.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

And for My Next Trick, I'm Disappearing for the Weekend

Because I've got a ridiculous amount of pay copy to complete, plus I happen to be flying solo as a parent for most of the day.  Believe it or not, I also have social engagements this weekend.  Oh yes, sometimes I even have a life -- it shocks me more than you.  This means something needs to get cut out, and society says it can't be the baby.  So, I'm off the blog for the weekend (and other social media), but I'll see you on Monday.

Have a great weekend. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday is Totally a Show Pictures of Everett Kind of Day

Because what else would one do on the last work day of the week?

A 150 points to the person who figures out which picture is actually one of our dog, Summit.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Complete Set of Olympic Articles

Because sometimes you just want to read week old articles about an event that has been over for four days.  But just in case you really do want to read all my rambling and rantings of the Olympics, then you have one spot to meet your needs.

Quick Opening Ceremony Thoughts 

Odd Events of the Olympics' Past

Alexandre Despatie Diving Back In After Injury

Guor Marial: A Man with No Country but Full of Country Pride

Alas, Dog Trimmer Have Always Been Denied Olympic Glory

The Legend of the Blind Archer

IOC Denies Chance to Commemorate Fallen Olympians

Here and There: A Random Assortment of Thoughts and Musings - 8/2/12

Things You May Have Missed Over the Last Six Days

Rebecca Soni Smashes World Record

US Women Eight Row to Second Gold Medal and a Sports Legacy

Kayla Harrison Overcomes Abusive Past to Win America's First Ever Judo Gold

Who to Watch in Women's Triathlon

Random Saturday Morning Olympic Thoughts

Canada's First Gold Medal

Nicola Spirig Wins Gold in a Photo Finish

More Olympic Ramblings from a Couch Potato

Canadian Women's Soccer Team Can Still Make History

Who to Watch in Men's Triathlon

A Rather Interesting Article on the Women's Soccer Team from a Week Ago

Alistair Brownlee Crushes the Olympic Curse

Time for More Canadian Olympic Gushing

Canadian Women's Soccer Team Gets Some Redemption

Silver Looks Far Less Gaudy than Gold, Tonya Verbeek

Usain Bolt Sprints into the Record Books

Female Muslim Athletes Competing to Pave Way for Women Rights

Is Synchronized Swimming Really a Sport?

17 Awesome Moments from 17 Days of the Olympics

It's Four Days Late, but I Still Have Olympic Thoughts

It was a fun 17 days, and hopefully a few of these articles can help you relive the last two weeks of awesome.

It's Four Days Late, But I Still Have Some Olympic Thoughts

Because it has been one of those weeks where it takes about four days to finally find my way to the blog so that I can spend a few minutes rambling.

This was the first year that I've been paid to watch the Olympics and then commence with ramblings and rantings.  The number one thing I learned was that if I'm going to land more jobs where I cover live events then I need to invest in a laptop.  I think I may have actually watched less Olympics this year than I did during Vancouver.  Now, the Vancouver Olympics contained a magic that London was never going to achieve, because it was in Canada and I got to witness this amazing show of patriotism that this country almost never exhibits. I was more drawn to the Vancouver Games, but I also think that a large part of my absence from the television had to do with the fact I had pay copy to do.  Now, if I managed my time better than I could have assured that my only work needed for two weeks would be Olympic coverage. A laptop would also have allowed me to catch major events live and immediately write the article rather than having to go upstairs and scour that name or time I missed while watching.  It was a lesson learned, but it was still cool getting paid to enjoy something I planned on taking up a large amount of my time anyway.  Thanks to BuddyTV for paying me to write for them.

According to Canadian sports experts these games were a disappointment for Canadian athletes.  We ended up tying our medal count with Beijing, and we only walked away with one gold medal.  We also had several favourites that ended up performing below expectations such as shot putter Dylan Armstrong or mountain biker Catharine Pendral.  Sure, we had high hopes on these athletes and they didn't met expectations, but that is sort of what sports are all about.  Sports are exciting to watch because upsets happen and unpredictable elements sneak in.  Sometimes it happens to the people we're cheering for.  I feel bad for the actual athletes that came in with that pressure and didn't match their own personal bests, but the fact is, they've done more athletically than this fat ass writer will ever do.  I'm just impressed I can walk my dog twice a day without getting winded. 

The whole argument that Canadian Olympians had a disappointing Olympics denies a lot of the amazing moments we did realize.  There was a lot of personal bests beat in these games.  Isn't that really what we should be proud of?  We aren't a sports powerhouse like the United States, and we never will be.  It isn't how our culture is wired, and more importantly, we're missing out on the large population.  Population wise we're a really small country, and that alone affects our chances of being a sports superpower.  Plus we just don't put the funding into the facilities to create those kinds of athletes.  But we have amazing athletes.  The Olympics proves we have amazing athletes.  The Games did give use some awesome Canadian moments.

Damian Warner came into the decathlon ranked 17th in the world, and had only been in the sport for 2 years.  He ended up in fifth place and achieved 6 personal bests.  This is an amazing and inspiring story, and a great victory.  Sure we had some favourites not reach expectations, but then we had someone like Warner go way beyond expectations and prove he is one of the world's best athletes in his sport (and a competition where you need to excel in several sports).

Warner isn't the only Canadian who surpassed expectations in the games.  Who really even paid attention to the fact that we have a women's soccer team besides hardcore soccer fans?  Now they're sports heroes and have an entire nation behind them.  Their bronze medal win was a classic Canadian sports moment, and there story will likely end up being one of the top ten sports moments of this decade.  And I'm pretty sure nobody thought they'd even be contending for a medal, yet they won one.  Most Canadians believe they should have been playing for the gold medal, so that is one amazing story. 

Derek Drouin won a bronze medal in his first major global competition.  This is remarkable.  He'd never felt the pressure of this level of competition before but still rose to the occasion to win a medal.  Another inspiring story and one every young Canadian should be proud of.  Dreams were realized at the Olympics.

I'm proud of our Canadian athletes.  I feel this was a great Olympics for us.  I can't remember all the personal bests that were achieved in these games, but I heard it touted often.  Sure, some personal bests weren't enough to get into the finals or come close to a medal, but it isn't always about that.  It is about performing at the highest level possible, and putting on the athletic show of your life -- many Canadian did exactly that.

Obviously, I admit I'm taking this tack, because I come from a country that doesn't haul in the medals.  I'm sure this blog would be different if I was American or British or Chinese.  But then again, it would be very different for more reasons that just my justification for Olympic performances. 

Speaking of great performances, I love Brian Williams.  For me, he is Olympic sportscasting.  He is the comforting face that greets you every day during the Olympics.  He brings humanity to the games and reminds you these athletes are people.  I enjoyed his touching interviews with the medal winners.  I enjoyed his final monologue before closing the CTV coverage.  I really hope he goes back to CBC, so we can have him cover the Sochi and Rio Games.  It just isn't the Olympics on TV without Brian Williams.

Of course, I don't need to worry about who is the sportscasters for the Olympics if a major billion dollar conglomerate pays for me to cover them on location.  Come on, you know you want me to be there.  You know you want to cover my tab.  I eat cheap. 

The Olympics isn't just about Canada though.  Apparently there were other countries competing too.  They had some amazing moments.  I covered many of them during my BuddyTV coverage.  If you want to read about the 'blind' archer or Independent runner or Muslim female athletes then you can scour the archives on this blog.  I have links to every article I wrote.  I think some of them are pretty good too.

I do have to admit that my last BuddyTV article contained two brainfarts.  I'm waiting for my editors to correct the errors.  I was apparently thinking about Rafael Nadal instead of Roger Federer, because I transported the tennis icon to a new home country.  I also made the rather monumental mistake of claiming Jessica Ennis won Great Britain's first track gold since 1908.  This couldn't possibly be more wrong.  I blame it on late night writing, and misreading several sources.  It is never fun when you make major errors like that, but I also know it will not be the last time.  Trust me.  I hope I am always humble enough to apologize and admit when I screw up.

London 2012 was a great Olympics.  It presented some wonderful stories.  We got to witness some marvelous athletes achieves fantastic feats.  It reminds me why I eagerly look forward to these games every 2 years.

Here are a few more moments that I loved that I had to leave out of my final BuddyTV article.

Jaime Yusept Espinal  wins the silver medal 84 kilo freestyle wrestling, which is Puerto Rico's first ever medal in wrestling.  He was a longshot for a medal, but he wrestled with such confidence and unleashed some of the most awesome throws and suplexes.  His matches were by far the most exciting in the Olympics and became an instant favourite for me.

Gabby Douglas became the first African American to win the individual female gymnastics all around in Olympic history.  I don't really like the whole "first African American" label, because I feel it downplays the athlete's achievements in some people's views.  But gymnastics has often been a sport dominated by those who are whiter than the milk I drink in the morning, and I think it also carries the stigma of being for a certain "social class."  I think her amazing showing can be seen as a breakthrough.  I hope it allows the sport to become more accessible.  Plus she just seems like a really likable girl, and I'm glad she won the medal.  These games really turned me into a big gymnastics fan.

I loved reading countless North American reporters write, "How is handball not more popular in North America?"  I barely know the rules of handball, and only caught clips of it on TV.  It is always great when North American media admits there may be something exciting and engaging that we're missing out on.  Hopefully, this means we will have better coverage of the sport in four years.

U.S. women’s 4 X 100 relay team crushed a 27 year old record with the time of 48.82.  I think it is fitting that such an achievement is done at a games where female athletes were given the spotlight.  Jessica Ennis becomes a national hero in Greta Britain, and Muslim athletes got to compete in several track events (and other events).  It was the year that female athletes were given a proper chance to shine, and they took full advantage of the opportunity.

Mo Farah is the Somali born athlete that became a British track hero.  He pulled out two gutsy gold medal victories with wins in the 10, 000 metre and the 5000 metre.  I remember thinking the 1,500 metre was grueling.

A true moment that showed the spirit of the Games was when both Alistair Brownlee and Javier Gomez completed the triathlon they collapsed to the ground.  They still found energy to shake hands and congratulate each other on an amazing performance.  This is what makes the Olympics so great.

And yes, I'm still missing many, many, many more great Olympic moments.

It was a great Olympics, and now I've got a few more days to try to recover from Olympics hangover.  I still flip on the TV in hopes that some event will be on, but I keep on getting greeted by a boyfriend confessing to his girlfriend he necked a llama or being told how awesome this lemon scented cleaner is at disintegrating bricks.  Oh well, back to the real world.

See ya in Russia in 2 years. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beloved Pop Culture Classics That Originally Were Flops

A piece of pop culture is declared a classic because it is universally loved and has always been an endearing part of society.  Right?  A classic couldn't possibly have been a bomb when it first started out, could it?  Well, I'm sure you've already figured out where I am going with this.  Yes, some classics were originally giant flops.  They debuted to negative reviews and an apathetic audience (or no audience).  You'll actually be surprised which cherished classic were actually not instant hits.  In today's Collective Publishing Pop Culture article, I look at a few beloved classics that started out as dismal failures, but eventually were able to win over an audience.  Once you're done discovering which of your favourite works were initially despised, over in the comment section let me know what you think or offer up some classics that you know started out as a flop. 

My Son Grows Too Quickly

But at least each stage at this point is adorable and heartwarming.  I'm sure that I'll have wished that I frozen him in time when he's 16 years old and constantly asking for the keys to my hovercar.  For now, I love seeing Everett grow up and learn new things on a daily basis.  Though I'm already learning how important it is to take a lot of pictures and videos, because every week he seems like a new baby.  Unless of course, Emily keeps on trading in babies for new models and I've just been oblivious.  This devious plan doesn't seem to be my wife's style, and Summit should be able to sniff out an imposter.  So, I'm trusting it is just my Everett who grows very quickly.  I talk all about his changes in today's "Dad's Eye View."

Monday, August 13, 2012

17 Great Olympic Moments

It is always trouble when you compose a list of the "greatest."  Always something amazing and beloved gets left out.  Yet I still tried to make a list of the most amazing Olympic moments for my latest BuddyTV article.  And of course, right after it got published, I thought of about 10 more things that really needed to be on the list.  I mean, how the heck do you do a best of Olympics and leave out one of the signature events, gymnastics?  I really wanted to mention Gabby Douglas.  Honest.  But I do think my list touches on some of the truly great moments of the London 2012 games.  I'd love to hear about some of your favourite moments on the sites' comment section. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Is Synchronized Swimming Really a Sport?

This is the question that I answer in my latest BuddyTV article.  I know synchronized swimming is probably one of the most mocked events in the Olympics.  I've heard a few sports fans complain about it being called a sport.  But does it really deserve all the criticism?  Well, I try to break down the event and see if it really is a sport.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Female Muslim Athletes Making History

In my latest BuddyTV article, I look at the historic debuts of female athletes from countries that never allowed women to compete in the past.  This is a huge event.  I discuss it in my latest BuddyTV article.  I'd love to hear your own thoughts in the comment section over there.

Usain Bolt Sprints into the Record Books

Usain Bolt is probably one of the few Olympian ever that can get an entire stadium to roar their approval.  He'll even get fans to cheer when he is competing against one of their own country mates.  He is a rock star of the sports world.  A true superstar in any sport.  Michael Phelps may be the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, but Usain may be challenging for most popular.  Every victory Usain gains is met with the kind of cheers you hear when the home team wins the World Series or the Stanley Cup.  This is coming from someone who has only been able to view it on TV.  Man, I wish I was able to sucker a rich publisher into allowing me to cover the Olympics on site.

Usain Bolt may not be the most decorated Olympian, but he is a history maker.  He is now the first man to win back to back golds in the two fastest races, the 100 metre and the 200 metre.  He is the undisputed fastest man ever.

The sprint is the main event of the Olympics.  The buzz you get in that stadium is unbelievable.  One day, I really hope I can to be there.  I want to be soaking in the energy before the massive race.  It seems like one of the truly great pre-game moments in sport.  It is like the moments before a prize fight or the coin toss during the Super Bowl.  It carries the energy and hype that challenges any other major sporting event.

Usain Bolt won the main event on Sunday by dominating the 100 meter.  He just cemented his legacy today.  And he did it in the most epic of fashion possible.  He smoked the competition.  Though fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake challenged him a bit down the stretch when he put on the jet boosters and started to gain some meters.  Bolt knew he had won it, and even jogged past the finish line.  It was exactly how all his fans wanted him to win it.

Jamaica is a racing power that has just blasted on the scene in the last decade.  I don't ever really remember hearing about them being a real super power back in the '80s and '90s.  Now, they have several top notch sprinters, and even have a Jamaican sweep of the medals in today's 200 meter final.  I don't see them giving up that crown any time soon.

The victory today was almost more exciting than the race.  You can see why Usain is a rock star of sprinting.  He shook hands with and hugged as many fans as possible.  They all loved him.  He did his thunder bolt pose and almost a post victory posing show reminiscent of Hulk Hogan from wrestling.  It is a spectacle. And everyone loves it.  Bolt is probably one of the hottest stars in sports and the guy who has helped make track and field more popular (though it has always been hot in the Olympics).  He seems like a guy deserving of the fame.  He seems like someone who really cares about his community and is trying to give back to the poor children of Jamaica.  He is a world class athlete, a transcendent showman, and a remarkable human being.  Now, he is solidly in the history books and continues to become an immortal in the sports world.

Also in track and field, a world record was shattered in the men's 800 meter.  It didn't have the buzz of Bolt, but it was still a fantastic feat and a true show of dominance.  Kenya's David Lukuta Rudisha absolutely blew away the field by pulling away from all the other competitors and breaking a world record with the time of 1:40.91.  It was one of the few world record breakers at the track, and it was impressive due to being so dominant.  I also liked when his fellow team mate tried to shove himself into the photos and almost make it looks like he may have achieved the world record.  Way to try to steal the glory, Timothy Kitum.  You almost pulled it off.

It was definitely one of those exciting, history making days at the track.  And I can see it all in Brazil in 4 years when a millionaire pays for me to write about it.  You know you want to, Mister Moneybags.