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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Thoughts on The Winds of Winter

winds-of-winterAre there spoilers at this point? No! Read away!

On New Year’s Day, George R.R. Martin dropped this literary bomb on his readers (here).  Boom! And you can still feel the aftereffects of the explosion reverberating over the comments and fansites even today.

Yes, the next novel in his A Song of Ice and Fire series will not be out before the next season of Game of Thrones. Which means the show will pass the book, spoiling what George had planned to do in the rest of the series.  Jon Snow, your death secret is about to come out!

Let me get this out of the way… I never saw the book series as perfect. I know, I know, heresy! Blasphemy! String this guy up and call in the silent sisters to take away the corpse! But the fact is that while I found the first two books very solid, things started to come apart for me during the third book and then came the mess that was the fourth book (let’s not talk about it… okay, we probably will in a bit). The fifth book tried to recover the problems, and it was fun to read the first time, but when you finish the giant tome, you realize how little went on for so, so, so many pages.

Okay, I got that out of the way.

Now, I’ve read all the books, including his giant history about the world of Westeros. AND I’ve given people copies of the books and DVDs of the show for presents. Heck, just this Christmas I gave my dad an Iron Throne Christmas ornament. (Thank you Target for finding such a unique way to celebrate the holidays!) So it’s a love-hate relationship. I truly respect the creativity behind the series, and his surprises get me each time, but I also question a lot of the storytelling decisions he takes, especially as he continues to expand his world beyond the lands actually threatened by the terrors behind the Wall. Continue reading

Please, Make It Stop: A Rant About Game of Thrones

DragonAvast there, me hearties! Here thar be spoilers aplenty! (Wait! It’s not Talk Like a Pirate day? What was I thinking?)

Let’s get this out of the way first. We’ve all been holding off saying this for a while, but it’s time.

Game of Thrones is a soap opera.

I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better after saying it.

I’ve recently found an interview with George R.R. Martin where he argues his book series is not a soap opera, maybe it was his way of preparing an argument before it came at him from outside his circle, but it is. Both the TV series and his book series… two words… soap opera.

Look, I hate to say it as much as the next person. The idea of someone truly doing something new in a very established (and usually predictable genre) is an awesome idea. He combined the history of the middle ages and fantasy… but the result is a freaking soap opera. With history almost being used as an excuse (or as a resource) for twists that help the soap opera continue.

Consider:

  • Soap operas and A Song of Ice and Fire both has multiple POVs of good and questionable individuals.
  • Both end every moment in a cliffhanger (You can almost hear the “stay tuned” at the end of some of the chapters in the books).
  • Both have meandering plots (I feel like I should be capitalizing meandering; no seriously, all caps).
  • Time seems to have its own rules. And both have marriages that seem to last for the same amount of time (and just like in soap operas most are bad matches).
  • And both are not working towards a clean resolution. There is no Mount Doom in sight from what I can see.

Oh, and all of these points is before I even bring up the fact that George R.R. Martin used to work in television and was a writer on a popular fantasy-lite soap opera in the 1980s.

Game of Thrones is a soap opera with people in funny costumes and dragons and we have bought into it.

Heck, I didn’t just buy in, I bought the DVDs, the books, the shirts and even gave them as Birthday presents to people I love. (I was like: “Hi, I love cocaine, I want you to take it too. Here- Happy Birthday!”) Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, April 2015

kids-bike-16-inchYesterday, I got to have one of those dad moments. It is so cliche, it could be used in a TV commercial (and probably has been), but there is a reason for it. It is a great feeling.

I got to teach my son how to ride a bike.

We went to our local park that has a smooth cement trail around it. After a few falls and nervousness, he was up and going, and there I was huffing and puffing to try and keep up.

Yeah, I could go on about the symbolism of the kid finally being able to race away from the dad, leaving the early years behind, but I’m not in that frame of mind. If anything this has opened a whole new world of possibility for us. I look forward to taking him on different trails in our area, finding new bike paths to explore. In other words, my summer just got a lot more interesting.

What is also interesting is that most of what I mention below is all done while sitting down. My Fitbit would probably be disappointed by my list this month, actually. But I listen to it enough, so I think it is all fine. Continue reading

My Thoughts on Season Four of HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones, Season 4This post contains A LOT of spoilers for those who have not read the book… or watched the show… or listened to a podcast… or went on the internet… or opened a magazine… or merely breathed entertainment over the last three years. 

I had serious misgivings around watching season four of Game of Thrones. (I even wrote about it last year in this post.) See, for me it all came down to the Red Wedding. When I read the book, I was furious. Robb Stark was always my favorite character in the book. Part of it is because we only saw him through other characters and he would have these moments of weakness, showing the boy behind the sword.

Then the Red Wedding happened and it didn’t matter what I thought.

Jump forward a few years and we get the Red Wedding on the show, a show where they always like to take the brutality of George R.R. Martin and times it by ten. How did they do it on the show? Why kill a pregnant woman first… by stabbing her in her belly.

Damn HBO.

Anyway, I was offered free HBO for three months and decided to jump in. Honestly, the main driving force for me in watching this season (or merely starting it) is I wanted to see King Joffrey get axed.

Supposedly, the actor who plays Joffrey is really nice and is actually retiring from acting to work in nonprofits. Anyway, I still wanted to see the character die, it wasn’t personal at him. If anything he should be rewarded for making me hate him so much.

The thing that was the most shocking about this season for me—more than the deaths and abundant nudity and other stuff I will get into below— was the fact the writing was soooo much better. Continue reading

Re-post- To Watch or Not to Watch: The Conundrum of Season 3 of Game of Thrones

I don’t want to say “I told you so” to fellow Game of Thrones fans who didn’t read the books… But… “I told you so.” Everyone right now is talking about the Red Wedding and how brutal and cruel it was. In this post, I talk about how the event impacted my reading of the series. Honesty, I feel like it created problems with the series that have yet to be fixed.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

Game of Thrones_Season ThreeMassive spoilers are ahead the size of the dragon Drogon for those who have not read the series by George R.R. Martin or watched the HBO series. You’ve been warned.

I am fan of the shadow of Game of Thrones.

What that means is I love the show and books in spirit, but in actual execution it is all a little bit more… well… shadowy. Imagine me as Peter Pan racing up the wall trying to get me hands on my shadow but it is just out of my reach and very dark. But I have to have it! It might complete me!

Now before you judge me, I’ve paid my Westeros dues (in Gold Dragons, of course). I’ve read all the books, I’ve seen the first two seasons of the show. Heck, I even own the first two seasons of the show on Blu-Ray (ordering both before they were actually…

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Thank you, Arrested Development, Thank You…

Arrested DevelopmentDear Arrested Development,

I don’t usually write letters to TV shows. It is not in my nature to fawn over things (especially TV shows). I mean, come on!, do you see the stuff on TV these days???

It is a part-time job to find something that isn’t mind-numbing painful. It could almost be said in today’s culture- you go to school to be educated, you go to TV to lose it.

Okay, a lot of people who have blogs or write on entertainment like to focus on the negative. It’s not surprising really, it is easier to write negative than positive. I mean, how many different ways can you say good? Seriously, I’m sure if you were to weigh the word options between good and bad, good would be this little pile and bad would be this giant memorial to insults.

Where was I?

Okay, I am rambling. I am nervous. I’m like a teenager on a first date trying to make the person in the passenger seat of the car laugh. But the fact is, honestly, I am fawning, because the fourth season of your show is a piece of genius. Continue reading

Easter? Nah. This nerd is watching TV!

A piece of heavenI get why Easter is a big deal.

The change of the season from Winter to Spring (don’t we all feel a little more sane with more sunlight?), and there is the whole religious aspect for many (I was raised Catholic; of course Lent for me growing up was usually giving up something I didn’t care about, like vegetables)… But for me… honestly… this time of the year is all about Cadbury Eggs.

Man, I love Cadbury Eggs!

A piece of heaven trapped in a shell of chocolate.

Does anyone else remember when they had the orange ones out a few years ago? They had an orange filling (as compared to the caramel one that is too sticky for me and the chocolate one that is a little gross) and it was wonderful! This year I can’t find them anywhere. Bring back the orange! So I am stuck with the normal eggs. Now that doesn’t mean I am complaining, it’s just that a little variation in my favorite chocolate egg delicacies is not a bad thing. Like I said, I love Cadbury eggs.

Am I rambling?

Anyway, this year for me the holiday has been pushed aside by the priority of television.

Yes, for you this weekend may mean bunny rabbits, chocolate, and brightly-colored clothes on Sunday morning, for me it means a time-traveling police box and a long sword possibly with a white wolf’s head on the end of it.

Bring on the fantasy! Continue reading

To Watch or Not to Watch: The Conundrum of Season 3 of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones_Season ThreeMassive spoilers are ahead the size of the dragon Drogon for those who have not read the series by George R.R. Martin or watched the HBO series. You’ve been warned.

I am fan of the shadow of Game of Thrones.

What that means is I love the show and books in spirit, but in actual execution it is all a little bit more… well… shadowy. Imagine me as Peter Pan racing up the wall trying to get me hands on my shadow but it is just out of my reach and very dark. But I have to have it! It might complete me!

Now before you judge me, I’ve paid my Westeros dues (in Gold Dragons, of course). I’ve read all the books, I’ve seen the first two seasons of the show. Heck, I even own the first two seasons of the show on Blu-Ray (ordering both before they were actually released)! I am even guilty of driving others to the series. Regretfully, I’ve not only bought my dad the books and Blu-Rays, but also a shirt and calendar.

(Yeah, I said regretfully, and here is why: while I was finishing up book five, my dad was still back in book three and he happily told me that he felt a strong connection to Jon Snow. Considering the end of A Dance With Dragons, I couldn’t help but blush and mumble under my breath, “Sorry.”)

The thing is that all of this, for me, it may be coming to end soon.

I’m actually debating whether I need to say goodbye to my secret direwolf, hang up my sword made of Valyrian steel, and take the first boat out of there like Sansa from King’s Landing. Yes, I may have actually reached my goodbye with the show and the books, because… honestly… it was in the third book (A Storm of Swords) that I felt like everything fell apart. That third book is tragically where the HBO series is at; and two books later George R.R. Martin, in my opinion, has yet to clean up the mess he made at a certain wedding.

He needs a really big mop. 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