Five Things I Am Into Right Now, July 2016

This introduction has some spoilers for Game of Thrones, but seriously not a big deal. Don’t worry, I got your back.

Game-of-Thrones-Jon-SnowOkay, I have to say something about Game of Thrones. I have no choice. The fact I am only doing here as an intro is pretty surprising, since I find what we just saw happen over the season fascinating.

Every year I complain about the show. About the darkness, the violence, the aggression. Sometimes I am taking on George R.R. Martin, sometimes the writers of the show. But this season was easily the best the show had ever done.

I think a big part is that they weren’t slowed down by Martin’s books. Honestly, the last two books felt like filler for me. Something to extend the shelf life of the series as compared to moving the story forward. Obviously, the TV writers agreed with me when they cut those two books down to one season on the show.

My big love of the season is finally we are getting some comeuppance on the more villainous characters and we are getting answers to things that book readers have been debating for years. It almost makes a fan of the books want to send a thank you card and a box of chocolate to HBO.

Yet, I wonder what it is doing to Martin. It must be really hard to sit down at the computer each day and work on a book that has been spoiled for so many already. He must feel like he is just going through the motions. It almost makes me wonder if we will ever see the next two books in the series. Wouldn’t it at some point feel like writing one of those lame novels adapted from a film screenplay?

Read the book about the movie you just saw! Experience it again on the page! You loved it on the screen, just wait until you experience it again inside your head, written by someone unconnected to the screenplay or production who is just doing it for the paycheck!

Anyway, Game of Thrones is done. Here are the five things I am really into this summer not related to dragons. Continue reading

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Grocery Shopping With Atheists

Grocery CartI would call it a holy time, but that would be wrong… very wrong.

See, there is this moment each weekend when it is glorious to go grocery shopping. There are barely any crowds, the shelves are fully stocked, the workers are hanging around and very willing to help, and you feel like you are the center of the store. This wondrous time is Sunday morning when all of the good people are at church.

I would not call me or my fellow Sunday morning shoppers rebels. We are not the cool kids who were smoking on the corner in high school. If anything we are smart scavengers, taking an opportunity in front of us while others have their backs turned.

When I try to imagine who we are Biblically I always immediately think of the masses who when Moses was up on the Mount Sinai decided to throw a wild party and then built a golden calf. (And, to be honest, after all those people had to go through didn’t they deserve at least a little party?)

We are more sophisticated now, of course. We are all listening to our iPhones, buying fresh fruit, and enjoying the casual attire that not attending church allows us. Sundays for me is about wearing hoodies not ties. And the great thing about a hoodie is I can hide my face if I need to, because I do feel a bit of guilt each time I see a family in smart clothes on their way to a service.

I always tell myself that they aren’t judging me, and I have no reason to feel this way, but I still do and I avert my eyes accordingly.

I’m sorry about the golden calf. I’ll just put it over here. It won’t bother you. I like the tie, by the way.

Continue reading

Downton Abbey as Art: Some Thoughts on the Great Series

Television is rarely art.

A big part of that is because of how it is made, this is especially true in America.

American television is a business model made out of light entertainment, with the hope of reaching as much of the viewing population as possible.  While a creator may start with the spark of an idea, it is in the manufacturing of that idea where the art is lost; and business men take over, hoping to stretch an idea out for as long as possible, generating the highest quota of viewers and advertising sales. And through this process sadly creators can disappear (Consider Dan Harmon and Community, which I wrote about here), walking away (or forced away) from their own creations, their own babies.

To understand what I mean about art, consider one important element that makes a good novel art. It is not merely the initial idea, but the follow through from the beginning to the end, everything coming together to make a wonderful perfected whole, like a present with a bow on top. Television doesn’t have that, especially in America, and it is rare that any writer or even creator know what they are working towards. Don’t believe me? Remember when they gave an end date for the show Lost and everyone thought that was revolutionary?

So while a show might have a few great episodes, a few great seasons, it is rare you can step back and look at a complete package and say that is a well-told story from beginning to end. Continue reading

The Top of the Pile: The Found Blog Editorials

Pop culture rules.

I don’t know if that is sad or if it makes logical sense, but whenever I am inspired to write about a current event in the entertainment world, I get numbers that my personal editorials (on parenting or life in general as a thirty-something writing dude) only can dream about… and the fact is social media is a great way to build numbers. Seriously, if I share a piece on Facebook and my numbers find a nice home for the week.

So why does it make me feel all dirty? I mean, it’s not like I am writing about scandals, I wouldn’t even be writing on a topic unless I was inspired to give a unique take, something I didn’t read elsewhere.

The fact is I was raised Catholic so I feel easily guilty about most things. It is my excuse why I can be overwhelmingly overcome by guilt when I forget to even say thank you to someone for the slightest little thing. And here I am writing about something that really doesn’t involve me! And look at all of the people reading my opinion! And what if I write something that might hurt someone’s feelings? Guilt, guilt, guilt.

Here are my top five popular posts. Continue reading

Why Dan Harmon Being Fired From Community Really, Really Bothers Me

I am a fan of Community. Let’s get that out of the way first, so I can wave my bias flag freely while trying to make one or two incredibly important points (And a few minor little tidbits)… Hell, this is a rant, really.

Community is one of the few shows on TV that can make me laugh out loud… actually, let me correct that- it is one of the few things anywhere that can make me laugh out loud at all. It surprises me, it can be unpredictable, and I cannot think of anything else like it on TV today. And for that point alone, it is refreshing and a highlight of my week.

To catch up, for those that don’t know, the creator of the series was pretty much fired from the show on Friday night, the day after the season finale. Oh, the people in power said he would still consult; but Dan Harmon, the creator, doesn’t see it that way, and vocally shared with the masses his experience being ousted (you can read his post here).

The funny thing is a lot of what I was seeing TV bloggers and the like write about the incident over this weekend (and I read them like drinking water, since I wanted someone to say what I was thinking, which they didn’t) was not about how Harmon was treated and what it says about the culture around writing and creating for TV, but more of a “Gee, will the show seem different with his departure?”

Yes, the show will be different!

What a stupid thing to ponder. Continue reading