Thursday, May 09, 2013

Random Collection of Thoughts on Things I Should Have Posted About Weeks Ago

I've already been the broken record about my less than stellar posting record in 2013, so I won't play that game again.  Instead, I'll serve up some quick thoughts on things I should have written about several weeks ago.

1.  I've got a few emails wondering why I never wrote anything on the passing of Margaret Thatcher.  This is a pretty simple answer.  I really don't have much to say about her.  Her peak was when I was more concerned about He-man overcoming Skeletor, and I was never really driven to read up too much about her.   What I do know isn't really positive, because my leanings tend to shift to the liberal side of things.  Plus a huge dose of my knowledge on Thatcher comes from fictional works like Billy Elliot, which doesn't really make her sound too wonderful and cheery.   I'm sure one day I'll have more to say about her, especially since I really want to see the biopic starring Meryl Streep, Iron Lady.  The one real positive I can say is that she was a strong and powerful female figure in a field largely dominated by men, and considering how men can be about their positions, she deserves a lot of respect for her ability to become a famous and powerful political figure.  I also think all the shots about her being cold and ruthless partly come from the fact she was female and she likely needed to command that kind of authority in order to hold on to leadership.  Looking at the two iconic conservative leaders of the '80s, Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, I would vote for Thatcher as the far more interesting and appealing figure.

2.  On the passings I ignored front, Paul Bearer passed away and there were a few shocked I didn't write a tribute to him.  I haven't really followed wrestling this year, and so I didn't even find out about it until a few days later.  I also didn't really have much to say, because even though he was a pretty memorable character and manager to one of wrestling's biggest stars, The Undertaker, I was never really drawn to him as a wrestling character.  The guy had some pretty silly facial expressions that made me laugh, and it is still fun to impersonate his "oh yeeees" catchphrase, but as a whole, there just isn't much I could say about him.  There were a lot of tributes written about him, and he had a long wrestling career that actually was pretty prolific even before he became Paul Bearer.  He also sounded like one of the really genuine and great human beings in wrestling, and so he will be missed by many.

3.  There have also been several emails surprised that I completely ignored Kathleen Wynne becoming the Premier of Ontario.  It was a pretty historic event considering she is both the first female and first openly gay Premier of the province.  I haven't had anything else to say other than it is nice when there are moments of actual progress in politics in the year 2013.  I approve things becoming egalitarian, and I also approve of Dalton McGuinty being out of leadership since he'd burned off all his goodwill.  Other than those thoughts, there hasn't been much else to comment on.  Her term has just begun and she really hasn't done anything of note.  She gave a hell of a speech and has promised some big changes, but that is kind of what politicians do.  I'd like to see what she actually plans to do.  To be honest, at this point she seems like another lame duck politician.  There is likely an election pretty soon, and I don't like the Liberal party's chances this time around.  It is just easier for me to not get too invested until I have an idea where things are going for Ontario this year.

4.  I'm absolutely stunned that the massive meteor explosion in Chelyabinsk, Russia hasn't been followed by every film studios announcing the newest series of giant asteroids or flying rocks attacking Earth epics or at least someone writing the script to an Armageddon remake starring James Brolin, Dwayne Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Kate Upton.  I also don't remember reading too many rants about how "God did this" because women wear tank tops, which also surprises me a bit.

5.  Speaking of Russia, I'm pretty sure I haven't even mentioned once the new FX show, The Americans.  This is a travesty, because this is one of the best TV shows.  Period.  There hasn't been an "anti-hero with a family trying to battle different enemies" show that has been this good or this complex since The Sopranos.  Considering many believe that is one of the best shows of all time, this is pretty high praise.  Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys deliver top notch film caliber performances on this show, and they really do a brilliant job of getting you to sympathize with characters that would have been the worst kind of movie villain 30 years ago.  The show has done a great job of making you care for both sides, because they have CIA agents you're invested in and want to cheer for, but also you obviously sense a connection with the two KGB agents posing as Americans who also have likable children.  The series has some of the best action sequences on televisions, and it is loaded with suspense and twists.  I really love the show, because it is essentially about family and trying to belong more than a spy thriller.  The writing is phenomenal and the characters are so complicated and complex.  This show has really made up for the stinker that The Walking Dead has been decomposing into, and this is now the series that everyone needs to check out.  If it wasn't for the fact I had to binge watch most of the episodes, I would have tried to do weekly reviews on it.  I will try to review the box set if and when it comes out -- especially if anyone from Amblin is reading this, I'd love a reviewers copy.

6.  If I'm doing a min-review of big budget TV series then I need to bring up The Following.  This series has got relative buzz on TV from audiences and critics, but would get panned for being convoluted and marred by weak writing if it was on the big screen.  This is one of those examples of expectations being far lower on television, and why many film critics call this medium the inferior form of storytelling.  Despite my essential trashing of this series, I watched it almost as loyally as The Americans.  I rolled my eyes about 56 times an episode over the lame plot twists, the constant reveal of new cult members, and the attempts to make the vile killers relatable.  Yet I still stuck with this show, and I found myself invested in the outcome.  This is almost entirely due to the great performances by the two leads, Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy.  The finale gave a pretty fitting ending to the relationship and even though it ended things on a cliffhanger, I think I got what I wanted from this series and probably won't return unless the buzz is really strong.

7.  On the family side of things, Everett took his first unassisted steps yesterday.  This is a giant champagne cork popping event in the Spicer house.  Not that we actually are eager for him to move any faster or be able to reach even more things.  The current pace is just fine.  He needs to walk at some point, and so it is exciting to see him developing.  I'll probably talk about this more in an Everett dedicated article real soon.  I haven't done too much parenting writing since my Dad's Eye column ended, and so I'm sort of itching to get back into that kind of writing for a bit.

8.  For movie lovers, there is an awesome channel in Ontario on Rogers called Hollywood Suite.  I've been meaning to mention this before, but well, I haven't.  Well, I did on one podcast, but not all of you bother to listen to those.  It is $6 a month, has four channels, and an On-Demand service.  It is a collection of films from the Warner Brothers, Sony, and MGM catalogue along with a select few other films from other studios.  The collection is incredibly deep and is loaded with classic films.  The On Demand service is still improving, but hopefully, will have a great selection over the next few months.  It is real cheap at $6, and sure it doesn't have the newer films like TMN, but it is a great way to open yourself up to some older gems.  I endorse it if that means anything, and it is an amazing value for those with PVRs since there is something record-worthy every single day.

9.  I wanted to thank everyone for the really kind and supportive comments and emails regarding my A Brutally Honest Personal Update on my Writing Career and Life.  It was especially touching to get several emails and comments detailing one's own battles with depressions and self-worth.  It really means a lot.  I am glad that the article had some value to others.  I knew you were all awesome.

10.  This summer I'm going to take the plunge on several projects.  A few of them are directly linked to this blog while a few others will remain secret until completed and some other key details are worked out.  I'm hoping that the second half of 2013 will be an exciting one, and I'll have a few cool announcements to make about some things you'll be able to read and enjoy from me in the future.

With that, I'm all caught up on things I should have written about weeks ago.

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